This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hamlet: Branagh's Ophelia And Showalter's Representing Ophelia

2060 words - 8 pages

Hamlet: Branagh's Ophelia and Showalter's Representing Ophelia

 
    Ophelia falls to the floor, her screams contrasting eerily with the song pieces she uses as her speech.  In an instant she is writhing and thrusting her pelvis in such a gross sexual manner that it becomes clear that, in his film interpretation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh wants to imply a strong relationship between female insanity and female sexuality.  Such a relationship is exactly what Elaine Showalter discusses in her essay -- "Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism" -- "I will be showing first of all the representational bonds between female insanity and female sexuality" (Showalter 223).  "Tracing" various representations of Ophelia throughout history, Showalter attempts to tell Ophelia's story by examining the way in which the culture of a society, their views of women, and psychiatric theory relates to the representation of Ophelia at that time.  With the amount of attention Branagh affords the role of Ophelia in his film, and because Branagh's Ophelia represents many of Showalter's ideas about Ophelia's drowning death, the bond between sexuality and insanity, and the conventions of femininity, Branagh's Ophelia can supplement Showalter's essay -- her "trace" of the history of representation of Ophelia -- serving as a Post-modern example of the representation of Ophelia.

 

 

In his representation of Ophelia, the relationship that Branagh attempts to establish between female insanity and female sexuality is a strong and obvious one.  Through costume, cinematography, blocking, and various other aspects, Branagh makes clear his interpretation that Ophelia's insanity is the direct result of her sexuality.  However, there is also more to Branagh's interpretation; he portrays the relationship between Ophelia's insanity and her femininity as existing like an inverse relationship such that when Ophelia is deepest in madness, not only is she grossly sexual but she is also furthest from an ideal feminine state.  Such a deliberate choice by Branagh can be most easily seen by his representation of Ophelia in the "mad scene" (Hamlet 4.5) and Branagh's inclusion and representation of Ophelia in scenes where she does not appear in the text.  In fact, in contrast to past representations of Ophelia when some of her lines were cut, Branagh actually gives his Ophelia more lines than Shakespeare does to better convey Branagh's own interpretation.  One such instance occurs when Branagh gives Ophelia a line that is, in the text, Guildenstern's: "A thing, my lord?" (Hamlet 4.2.28).

 

 

In the Branagh film, Ophelia first appears at the wedding of Claudius and Gertrude ( Hamlet 1.2).  Dressed in bright red, with make-up on her face and her hair done beautifully -- up off her face and curled -- Ophelia stands next to her father like a coy maiden:  joyfully and dutifully applauding in support of...

Find Another Essay On Hamlet: Branagh's Ophelia and Showalter's Representing Ophelia

Gaden of Ophelia: Hamlet Essay

2251 words - 10 pages Shakespeare allows gifts to carry symbolic value within his writings, a value that an Elizabethan audience would recognize. There is something about Ophelia's gifts, in Hamlet, that draws one's attention to the insanity. Ophelia distantly says to friends and family, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember, and there is pansies. That's for thoughts … There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's

Hamlet Character Analysis Ophelia

1136 words - 5 pages The play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, contains many complex characters involved in the royal court of Denmark. After the king’s tragic death, his son, Hamlet begins to lose his mind, leaving behind the girl he once loved. Ophelia, the daughter of the Lord Chamberlain to the royal court, remains a static character; obedient and passive, while still maintaining her innocence. Upon the death of a loved one, however, she goes mad, her own end

Hamlet and Othello: Ophelia and Desdemona

937 words - 4 pages Ophelia and Desdemona play the role of the "innocent lady" in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Othello. The roles of these characters provide a sense of completeness, faithfulness, and obedience to the leading male figures. In both plays, these innocent ladies end up dying. These deaths are both due to a false rejection of love. Othello kills Desdemona because he believes her love is false, and Ophelia dies ultimately because she reads Hamlet's mask of

Hamlet´s Treatment of Ophelia and Gertrude

2087 words - 8 pages evident due to his poor relationship with Gertrude and Ophelia, since they falsely love him then reject him by moving on with their lives. Both females have heavily contributed to the misogyny Hamlet develops. Ophelia and Gertrude disappoint Hamlet which leads him to become a misogynist which contributes to the death of both female characters at the end of the novel. Hamlet considers both Gertrude and Ophelia to be sinful women due to the loss

The Tragic Tale of Ophelia and Hamlet

1409 words - 6 pages The Tragic Tale of Ophelia and Hamlet            The common problem of lack of communication has plagued couples since the beginning of time. The relationship Hamlet and Ophelia share in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, is no more immune to these human tendencies. Throughout the drama, many misunderstandings cloud their relationship. Unspoken problems and pressures within Ophelia’s and Hamlet’s private lives lead to overlooked, unnoticed love

The Romance of Hamlet and Ophelia

874 words - 4 pages The most wonderful and intriguing topic for discussion is one of Shakespeare’s play has to be the relationship of Hamlet and Ophelia. Some people have doubted the love that is there, while others believed that there was love. Today in our current generation we still read and analyze this bond that they have. Everyone at least has experienced love in some kind of way to know how love should and should not feel, and even how love looks. So how

Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hamlet, Claudius, and Ophelia)

1561 words - 6 pages to Hamlet's insanity is because of rejection from his daughter, Ophelia. In the end, Polonius spies on Gertrude and Hamlet, who stabs him through a tapestry, thinking it was Claudius, and Claudius makes one last effort to get rid of Hamlet, by making him battle Laertes with a poison sword and later poisoning his drink. However,_________________________________________________________________________________________________________* Line number

Analysis of Ophelia from Hamlet

5064 words - 20 pages Analysis of Ophelia from Hamlet Ophelia is gentle, loving and beautiful. She is also obedient to her father and loyal to her family and it is this which draws her into the circle of disaster and leads to her "untimely death". She is deeply in love with Hamlet and believes his "tenders" to be sincere, but her obedience to both her father and her brother must come first. Laertes tells her to beware of Hamlet's interest as it is driven by lust

The Real and Feigned Madness of Hamlet and Ophelia

501 words - 2 pages In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, a kind of madness ultimately infects everyone, leading to an ending in which almost every major character is dead. Two of these maddened characters are Hamlet and Ophelia, who also share a love for each other. But though their irrational behavior is often similar and their fates alike, one is truly mad while the other is not. Both Hamlet and Ophelia act very strangely. Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, insults

Theme of Madness and Causes: Hamlet and Ophelia

2072 words - 8 pages In Shakespeare's Hamlet, there are two characters that display qualities of insanity. Specifically, Hamlet and Ophelia, although they both appear to be mad at times, their downfall (or supposed downfall) is quite different. Ophelia's madness seems complete while Hamlet's is questionable throughout the play. Hamlet's madness comes and goes; Ophelia's does not. Ophelia tells no one that she is "mad"; on the other hand, Hamlet shows everyone about

Essay on the Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet

1009 words - 4 pages The Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet        The main plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet centers around Prince Hamlet's desire to repay King Claudius for his evil deeds. Around this central action revolve the stories concerning the minor characters of Polonius and Ophelia. Though they do not motivate Hamlet's actions towards the King, these characters act as forces upon Hamlet himself, trying to spur him to do things he does not

Similar Essays

Hamlet And Ophelia Comparison Essay

672 words - 3 pages Hamlet and Ophelia are linked by many common characteristics, notthe least of which is their madness. While Hamlet's madness seems tobe feigned, Ophelia is truly crazy. The odd thing about theirpredicament is that they each drive each other more fully into thedepths of illness.One of Hamlet's most famous lines is when he tells the Queen: "Seems,madam? Nay, it is. I know not 'seems.'" Hamlet is saying that he doesnot know what it is to pretend

Hamlet And Ophelia Essay

1254 words - 5 pages The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia being as unclear as it is, there are two points where there is no doubt:1.Hamlet did at some time love Ophelia sincerely.2.When at her grave he cries:I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothersCould not with all their quantity of love,Make up my sum,He must have spoken sincerely. Furthermore we may take for granted that he uses past tense because she is dead and not because he no longer loves her.This

Hamlet Needs Horatio And Ophelia Essay

1619 words - 6 pages a foil for Hamlet, the person to whom Hamlet can discuss his course of action and act like his true self. Ophelia, however, has a major role that is not initially evident. She is the embodiment of how Hamlet's opinion of women changes throughout the play. These two characters have drastically different roles, but both are vital to the success of Hamlet. In Hamlet, Shakespeare develops the character of Hamlet through numerous soliloquies and

Inaccessible Oedipus: Comparing Olivier's And Branagh's Women (An Contrast Between Gertrude And Ophelia In Lawrence Olivier's Hamlet And Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet)

1153 words - 5 pages acceptable and recognizable role than that of a mother who has sexual feelings for her child.The Oedipal themes in Olivier’s Hamlet are not limited to Gertrude; Ophelia’s depiction is colored by them as well. As Polonius warns that “borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry” (1.3.78), Ophelia seems to have an unnatural attraction to her brother; Ophelia even “toys with the purse hanging from Laertes’s belt,” giving