Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0145. Tuesday, 22 February 1994.
Date: Monday, 21 Feb 1994 15:22:20 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Desperately Seeking Ophelia and Gertrude
Hullo All --
I am doing my paper this semester on feminist criticism of
Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet, and have found much. However, any
suggestions are welcome.
A couple of questions:
1. Besides Millais' Siddal portrayal of Ophelia, one by Burne-Jones
I think (Ophelia dressed in white, wearing a crown of twigs,
picking up sticks, a circular picture), and one by another
c19 artist of the play-within-a-play, do the rest of y'all
know of any other pictorial representation of the two women?
This would be most helpful.
2. How has character critical thought changed? I looked at Robinson's
Hamlet bibliography and saw that much, if not all of the
criticism there was dependent on the two women's relationships
to others -- rarely ever were they evaluated as independent
figures, strong, weak, merciful, victimized, etc. They
were always depicted as someone's wife, someone's daughter, etc.
How did this come about? What has been done along this thread?
I mean, of depicting them and writing about them as themselves
as women, not just as hangers-on or dependents to the men.
3. I am going to write about Ophelia and Gertrude as acting out
the more negative aspects of Jungian archetypes -- the negative,
I-don't-wanna-grow-up Kore, Persephone, Hera, etc., intertwining
this with discussions of how they have been victimized by
dysfunctional views of female sexuality (motherhood only),
as well as how their actions contribute to their unbecoming
and their undoing physically and psychologically. Has
anything been done remotely on any or all of these threads?
Thanx to everyone. If anyone wants a more precise labelling of the
portraits and painters, I will be glad to supply the names, dates,