Hamlet 2 - Cory Baker WED 6PM Handout for Hamlet Section...

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Cory Baker 12/01/10 WED @ 6PM Handout for Hamlet Section 2 (IV.vii.164-181): John Millais’ famous painting of the scene Ophelia, is a good representation of Gertrude’s speech. The painting is a good visual aid to the scene because this actual scene depicted is not seen onstage, but exists only in Gertrude's description. Ophelia has fallen into the river from a tree overhanging it, while gathering flowers. She lies in the water singing songs, as if unaware of her danger, "incapable of her own distress" (line 177). "Her clothes spread wide, / And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up" (Line 173-4). Her clothes , trapping air, have allowed her to temporarily stay afloat, but eventually, "her garments, heavy with their drink, / Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay" down "to muddy death" (Lines 179-181). As a reader or audience member, we derive different images of this scene. With a mythical sense, the artifacts and elements of nature represent Flora, the goddess of flowers. The speech can also represent a flora, which describes the plant life occurring in this particular region.
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