Wednesday, October 7, 2009


In Hamlet, Ophelia is a strange creature.  Seemingly in love with Hamlet and driven to madness by the death of her father at Hamlet's hands, she is suddenly gone from the story.  But what is the true story of Ophelia's madness and how deep did her feeling for Lord Hamlet go?  Ophelia explores her background and the true story of Ophelia's love affair with the Danish prince.

Ophelia is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters.  I've always been fascinated by her.  When I was in 12th grade and we read Hamlet and had to do a project, I made a chart of her flowers and their meanings.  It was her character that got me interested in flower language.  But it was always a mystery of her real relationship to Hamlet.  It seems like they were in love or, at least courting, but you never get the full background on the situation.  In Ophelia, Klein gives a full back story to Ophelia and her relationship with Hamlet.  Ophelia's story starts when she was 12 and her family moves to the castle and she first sees the little Prince Hamlet.  And it shows their developing relationship and her part in his play on madness and revenge scheme after the death of his father.  I liked the idea that Ophelia both understood and didn't understand what was going on with Hamlet.  And that she tried to help at first, but his madness made her question everything.  I thought the ending was really good.  Although the book was slow in parts, it was well written using the language style of the play without being too hard to read.  The only complaint may be, if you haven't read the play, then parts of this might be hard to understand as somethings are glossed over.

*highlight for spoilers*

I liked the idea that Ophelia doesn't actually die, but fakes her death √† la Juliet and lives on in a convent.  So she actually does get herself to a nunnery.  And she gives birth to Hamlet's son which is so wonderful and that Horatio finds her and probably marries her since it was obvious he loved her all along.  I'm not too sure how I feel about her and Hamlet marrying secretly, but it moves parts of the story along.

*end spoilers*


  1. ophelia was always the most interesting character to me...i might have to read this one!

  2. I have to confess I never really thought much about her.

  3. It's been a goal to read Shakespeare...just haven't gotten around to it. but i've enjoyed the movie adaptations. It does look intriguing from your review!

  4. Hey i wanted to ask if you still have that chart with flowers and their meaning. We've just watched the play in the theater and i couldnt help but watch tears steaming down my face when Hamlet yelled at heri

  5. Jo- No, sorry. That was over 10 years ago so I doubt I kept it.


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