Hamlet Paper

Hamlet Paper - A Method to the Madness "Scripts...

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A Method to the Madness “Scripts contain bones, not people,” David Ball, a former head of the Duke University Drama Program, warns readers about analyzing plays. More accurately, he tells us not just to take every character in a play at completely face value. For example, Ophelia seems on the surface to just be some weak woman who follows her father’s and brother’s every order. On closer look, however, it is possible that she is actually a slightly rebellious daughter whose defiant choices eventually lead her to madness. In order to help throw off his track those with the possibility of learning Hamlet’s plots, Ophelia helps Hamlet feign madness. She describes for her father what happens in her closet, which could also be a description of what Hamlet did after they had had sex and when he had confided in her the details of his father’s murder. Her description is presented as verbal irony. It is noted well that he is disheveled as if he had thrown on his clothes in a hurry. She describes that “with a look so piteous in purport,/As if he had been loosed out of hell/To speak of horrors- he comes before me” (II.1.82-84). He could have, in fact, told her here of the horrors of the hellish murder that his uncle committed. She goes on to say that “he took [her] by the wrist and held [her] hard,” (II.1.87) which could be a gesture of begging. Next, she explains that Then goes he to the length of all his arm, And with his other hand thus o’er his brow He falls to such a perusal of my face As ‘a would draw it. Long stayed he so. (II.1.88-91) Like many lovers who want to look at their love for as long as possible before they have to leave, Hamlet is looking at Ophelia for as long as possible, just in case he might never see her again. Considering that he is so happy that he wants to remember every aspect of her, she must have said yes to a proposal of scheming. Ophelia has to urge him to go on so as she says, At last, a little shaking of mine arm, Page | 1
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And thrice his head thus waving up and down, He raised a sigh so piteously and profound As it did seem to shatter all his bulk And end his being. (II.1.92-96) When she does this, he does not want to leave her side. Therefore, he takes in her image a few more times and sighs dramatically in a way of saying, “Do I really have to go?” Torn between having to leave and wanting to stay by her side, he makes the moments last as long as possible by watching her, instead of where he is going, as he walks out of the room. As Ophelia describes it: And, with his head over his shoulder turned, He seemed to find his way without his eyes, For out o’ doors he went without their helps, And to the last bended their light on me. (II.1.100) With thus, the whole exchange is complete. Ophelia’s responses to the two questions Polonius asks during this scene further suggest
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Hamlet Paper - A Method to the Madness "Scripts...

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