The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1486 Friday, 9 September 2005
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
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