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|GR: I'll have a go
Written by Mary Anne
(5/18/2003 11:48 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Ophelia and Marianne, penned by Barbara
] It is interesting, I find, that both Marianne and Ophelia were led to believe or allowed themselves to believe more than was actually ever declared to them.
I find it interesting that Hamlet's treatment of Ophelia springs largely from his disappointment in womankind in general: he considers his mother faithless for her quick remarriage, and then when Ophelia obeys her father and refuses Hamlet her company, Hamlet must assume that she too is fickle and faithless. From that viewpoint, Hamlet has more cause than Willoughby for acting in such a callous fashion, though it hardly excuses his harshness later. Then, too, a great deal depends on how the scenes between Hamlet and Ophelia are played. I've been to productions in which I left convinced that Hamlet loved Ophelia with his whole heart--and to others that left me feeling as if he'd just shrugged her off, despite his protestations at her graveside. At least Hamlet can bring himself to say the word "love," though.
] It is also an interesting parallel that this is expressed not to the young lady herself (obviously), but instead to a concerned and protective sibling (Elinor and Laertes)
And as siblings go, Elinor is far more worthy of such a confidence. Laertes is a classic "do as I say, not as I do" example--as his sister points out to him when he gives her advice about her behaviour, but tosses off her own admonitions to him with "Oh, fear me not." (I.E., I'm a man so it's different for me.)
] It also makes me wonder how much of these graveyard/deathbed declarations of 'love' or fondness on Willoughby's or Hamlet's parts were real and how much for show?
If pushed to the wall, I'd say Hamlet's was more real though composed mostly of regret. At that moment he's sorry to have lost Ophelia, but I think he's also disgusted with Laertes' posturings at the graveside. He seems to be parodying Laertes' grief with some of those laughable lines, like "Would drink up Eisel? Eat a crocodile? I'll do it! . . . Nay, and thou'lt mouth, I'll rant as well as thou . . ." There seems to be more real pain in his attitude and lines than in Willoughby's, but then, Hamlet is a tragedy. ;-)
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