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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: January ::
R: Ophelia and Hamlet
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 15.  Saturaday, 9 January 1993.
 
From:           Steve Urkowitz <
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Date:           Saturday, 09 Jan 93 00:22:30 EST
Subject: 4.0012  Ophelia and Hamlet
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0012  Ophelia and Hamlet
 
As this discussion bent towards the enticing idea of an energetic Ophelia, I
thought I might encourage SHAKSPER folks to look at Ophelia's role in the Q1
text.  In her opening dialogue with Laertes and later in the same scene with
poppa Corambis she seems to me bouncier, spunkier, resisting rather than
resigned to the inevitability of male domination.  Seeing her role in Q1 then
throws the shadows of the "real" text drawn from Q2 into sharper relief.
 
I was much taken by the helplessness of Ophelia's "I do not know, my lord, what
I should think," a line only in Q2 and F, her response to her father's cynical
spitting on Hamlet's tenders of affection.   Then I happened to be reading Lyn
Mikel Brown & Carol Gilligan MEETING AT THE CROSSROADS: WOMEN'S PSYCHOLOGY AND
GIRLS' DEVELOPMENT, and they report the girls in their study went from a time
of great confidence and certainty about their world, spinning into a time of
deep uncertainty ("I just don't know what to say" appears repeatedly in the
transcripts of the authors' conversations with the girls).
 
Ah Hah! Q1 was the version revised by Shakespeare's company when they were
playing to audiences of pre-adolescent girls . . . Q1 was the version based on
Shakespeare's observation of pre-adolescent  girls before he saw his own
daughters enter the "time of insecurity" . . . The  apprentice who pirated Q1
was a preadolescent girl . . . Ah, hypotheses.
 
Forget for a bit what the sources of the texts might have been, and look at the
role.
 
                      As ever,
                              Steve Ur-quarto-witz  SURCC@CUNYVM
 

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