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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: November ::
Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.2176  Thursday, 13 November 2003

From:           Dana Wilson <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 12 Nov 2003 13:47:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia

Forum,

I have been thinking about Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia.  Esp, just
before the mad scene, there is a scene where O asks Gert "Who is the
beauteous queen of Denmark?"   It occurred to me that as HBC played it,
it was really a power struggle between the two, which of course O loses
hence the mad scene to follow.  It reminded me of the scene in Glass
Menagerie where the mother upstages the daughter in front of her
suitor.  It all got me thinking about the extent to which the tragedy of
Hamlet is not in some way driven by the refusal of the old generation to
quit the stage.  It occurred to me that in Elizabethan Revenge Plays,
there is a certain amount of the drama which depends on a
transgenerational duty.   The youth inherits the duty for revenge from
the old generation.  I wonder to what extent the refusal of the old
generation to quit the stage, causes the paralysis of Hamlet which is so
often noted.   He has not technically come into his inheritance, and
therefore, he does not have the full justification to act.  It seems to
me that given the transgenerational nature of the revenge play that it
is literally their own posterity which the old cannibalize when they
hold back the golden dawn by their lingering night.

I am,
D-

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