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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Stereotyping Hamlet..."wandering aimlessly"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1486  Friday, 9 September 2005

From: 		Bill Arnold <
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Date: 		Thursday, 8 Sep 2005 04:48:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 	Stereotyping Hamlet..."wandering aimlessly"

There are some marvelous couples in Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet 
to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, from Othello and Desdemona to Antony and 
Cleopatra, and yes, Hamlet and Ophelia.

So, when this year's hurricane list included Ophelia, I knew if we ever 
got to the mad lady that there would be hell to pay.  And there is! 
Read this newspaper account, stereotyping Hamlet and totally ignoring 
Ophelia, from the Palm Beach Post, Thursday, September 8, 2005, while 
she churns offshore to our north:

"Dithering Ophelia keeps storm trackers guessing

By Robert P. King
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Acting more like Hamlet than Ophelia, Florida's latest tropical threat 
wandered aimlessly offshore Wednesday, unable to decide where to go."

As I have noted many times in my posts about Hamlet, this persistent 
stereotypical Hamlet overshadows his maligned image in popular 
literature, largely due to the fact that scholarship still renders him 
"wander[ing] aimlessly" as the key Shakespearean character.

What is most distressing in all this is that mad Ophelia is ignored as a 
true character in her subjugation to her better half of the famed couple 
created by Will Shakespeare.  Ophelia in her madness, on her own, was 
guilty of "wandering aimlessly" as a character herself.

Why am I a lone reader who reflects upon Hamlet as the only sane and 
rationale player in a play of characters "wandering aimlessly" in their 
madness?

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

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