I recently finished my Extended Essay, titled “It Is a Common Thing to Have a Foolish Wife” and about the themes of domestic violence in Othello. If there’s any interest at all in it, I’ll upload it somewhere and maybe add things I had to cut out (due to the word limit of 4000). This won’t happen until next spring, though, perhaps the summer. Would you be interested in reading the paper?
can i just say
you can respect and honor ophelia without turning her into someone she isn’t.
ophelia is not a heroine. she doesn’t roll her eyes at hamlet or make jokes behind his back with horatio. she doesn’t wear a knowing grin.
ophelia is a young woman controlled by men that represent a larger patriarchal society, one that refuses to let her develop an individual identity, expects her to do so anyway, and then trivializes her ensuing psychotic break as “sad but lovely,” “heartbreaking.”
one that still exists, still refuses to let girls be their own selves and then blames them for being unable to “lean in.” one that says teen girls with depression are just “moody,” or desperate for attention, that their self-harm is martyrdom and their despair is attractive.
ophelia is not a pretty tragic figurine, but she’s not secretly empowered either. the work in dismantling society’s troubling perception of female adolescence is far from finished. pretending ophelia was a strong woman is pretending that the fight is over.
I generally agree, but at the same time, I think Ophelia is actually pretty snarky and critical of the double-standard with her brother Laertes—specifically the conversation before he goes off to France and he tells her not to be a slutty slut and bang Hamlet ‘cos he’s going to break her heart and she goes “Yeah, what about YOU, brother dearest?”
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
As watchman to my heart. But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven;
Whiles, like a puff’d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And recks not his own rede.
She has a personality and she is an individual, although she’s not supposed to be. A meek and utterly cowed woman would not call her brother out, however gently, on his hypocrisy.
She is trapped, she’s not “empowered” (whatever that means—I’m not all that keen on it as something to aim for, because to be empowered requires someone else to give you power, and they can always take it away—it’s like “powerful” but without any teeth to it), but she’s also not meek or unaware of the confines of her position in society (if anything, I’d argue that she’s very much aware, and that awareness of her confines and how little she can do about them is part of what breaks her in the end).
Comparison of the ‘To be, or not to be’ soliloquy in the first three editions of Hamlet, showing the varying quality of the text in the Bad Quarto, the Good Quarto and the First Folio.
"To be or not to be, aye, there’s the point
To die, to sleep, is that all? Aye, all:
No, to sleep, to dream, I marry there it goes…”
The Bad Quarto is PRETTY TERRIBLE, IMHO. Can you believe this is all we would likely have if John Heminges and Henry Condell hadn’t worked hard to piece together the First Folio? These guys were not editors; they were players who thought their friend and colleague had written something worth preserving. That is neat!
"If we should fail?"
"Then we fail. But screw your courage to the sticking place, and we’ll not fail."
hamlet is so much better when you read it after finding out that apparently shakespeare played the ghost in its earliest productions. like, imagine shakespeare writing “see what a grace was seated on this brow: hyperion’s curls, the front of jove himself, an eye like mars, to threaten and command, a station like the herald mercury new lighted on a heaven-kissing hill" about himself
So my school is putting on a production of Macbeth and not enough guys tried out so instead of having a girl play male Macbeth, our direction said, “Fuck it, we’re doing Lesbian Macbeth”
hamlet your uncle killed me so can you kill him
sure dad i'm on it
(writes part of a play)
(kills the wrong guy)
jfc son just kill him already
okay okay fine i'll do it
(gets kidnapped by pirates)
Come, come, you wasp, i'faith, you are too angry.
If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
My remedy is then to pluck it out.
Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies.
Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting?
In his tail.
In his tongue.
Yours, if you talk of tails, and so farewell.
What, with my tongue in your tail?