Why use characters from other stories and times?

Why not? Retelling stories is as old as the hills. West Side Story is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet. A Thousand Acres is a retelling of King Lear. Some people claim there are only twenty possible basic plots, and everything is a retelling of something else. We tell stories to make sense of the human condition, and we keep doing that because we haven’t yet figured it out. Stories — telling them, listening to them — seem to be an important part of the human psyche. As far as the characters are concerned, some characters are brought to life by a particular author with such stunning success that they outlive their creator. Hawkeye is one such character — so many people have been compelled to bring him back to life in one way or another. The Man of LaMancha is another — the underdog, always fighting windmills. He can be found in a hundred stories. I took some characters who mean a great deal to me to see what I could do with them; I invented others of my own, but even those owe a debt to all the stories that came before.
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