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This student edition of Shakespeare is dedicated to victims of suicide and to friends, families and survivors of those who have persevered through struggle. It is better to be lost in the wilderness than to be wide awake in the dark. Words will be your light if you allow them to save you.

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Preface to a ‘feminist’ Shakespeare An inspiration for this edition was a high school student edition of a Catholic Bible which engaged teenagers through facts and figures about modern thought and practice as applied to scripture. What was striking to me about this edition was that the annotations, commentary, and fun facts displayed on the pages did not change the general meaning of the text but instead offered an aid in which to interpret the text, one of which I believed was an untouchable resource. This student edition Bible engaged me in a way I had never experienced before and within this material I found a desire to learn and question what I was reading at the high school level-even if it was my faith. I decided that with "Ophelia's Hamlet" I wanted to achieve a similar concept providing a space for teenage men and women to discuss gender equality and issues of oppression and social injustice. Ophelia was a woman in Hamlet who was struggling to break free from her defined role in a patriarchal society. She has been represented in popular culture and discourse which offers ways to better understand and to research the female identity. In our culture we objectify women, chastise them for their sexuality, and abandon them when their beauty or sanity diminishes. We need a revolution of women that refuse to be silent by challenging the manner in which they are perceived in popular culture and in literary works. Through the study of Ophelia in Hamlet we are able to better understand and empower women in the 21st century to use their voice to affect social change. Initially, I aimed to create a 'feminist' edition of Hamlet but this presented many challenges both in terminology and in application. I re-evaluated my focus not to simply include feminist ideas and practice but to also incorporate improving "social justice" and “equality” as related concepts and central goals of this edition. While researching editorial theory and the development of feminist theory I found it was very important to respect and value the theories which were set in place by Samuel Johnson with regards to annotating text and the history of editing Shakespeare found within his preface. It was important in the development of this edition that I realize that the original text was written in an era where the defense of women's rights was not as important as in our modern society. Ultimately, this would explain biases and eliminate the idea that men themselves are attempting to silence women’s voices in literature. From a modern feminist perspective I understand that these biases found in text are the product of a learned culture and to promote equality I aimed to understand the relationship between both men and women as they are viewed within Shakespeare and how they relate to our own understanding of society. What needed to occur in an edition that aimed to improve social justice was to inform the reader that gender roles are an important feature to improving equality between characters in Shakespeare. These gender roles are a subject of perception and regardless of your time period when reading the text it is important as a student to analyze the text with a critical eye and understand viewpoints from both male and female viewpoints which affect the overall meaning of a play. Without changing the base text to suit an agenda, like Samuel Johnson’s Plays of William Shakespeare 1765 edition I chose to annotate the language in scenes from a standpoint of my own bias as a ‘modern feminist editor’ in ways that could improve a reader's sense of male and female identity through the roles that Hamlet's characters play. It is not the goal of this edition to dispute or to even label the base text as 'patriarchal' or 'feminist'. The text itself stands alone and could not function without a reader's sense of gendered identity to create a view of the text. What is 'feminist' about and edition is the tools in which a readers chooses to interpret the materials they are given. These tools are in the framework which surrounds the text including the annotations, commentary, critical essays and scene activities which prompt a discussion on equality and gender. These devices allow 4

the reader a better understanding of the base text and like a bilingual version between different languages translate the text into a modern interpretation. This new language in Shakespeare is one that respects, values, and accepts differences in gender by highlighting the biases in words and challenging stereotypes of both male and female characters. This edition was largely influenced by the "Feminist Companion to Shakespeare" by Dympa Callaghan. I do not assume that all people who edit Shakespeare are men, moreover I respect and value that men have made great contributions to the editing of Shakespeare and recognize that their editing has served as a way to better understand and relate to a gendered reading of Shakespeare’s plays. For the purpose of this edition I choose to adapt the definition of feminism offered by Laurie E. Maguire in her article “Feminist editing and the body of the text” (Dympa, 59). Maguire considers feminist editing 'a social agent for awareness and change that points out (and hence combats misogyny) in whatever form. A ‘feminist’ is then any person who strives for equality in between the sexes in any form. What also became very clear in the solo production of this edition is the importance of an editorial board and General editor. As I have embarked on this project alone it clearly brought the course to life and the importance of accepting and reviewing feedback from peers. I now understand that the text must be given thorough research by a variety of editors to ensure that it meets scholarly standards. I believe after this project that a team of editors who are conscious of gender biases and feminism are necessary to dispel myths about Shakespeare's work. With this in mind I offer this as a springboard for further research and hope that it can ignite a revolution in women’s studies and the way we read and interpret Shakespeare. More importantly I wish this to be the edition of Shakespeare I could have read as a young girl in high school. Ultimately, it wasn’t the men who silenced Ophelia which caused her breakdown but it was the belief in the myth that she didn’t have a voice or choice to make a difference for herself and the women of her time. To further research in this area I would propose feminist editions for high school acting classes that focus on stage directions, and the costumes that women wear in order to improve how women in Shakespeare are viewed by modern audiences.


Acknowledgements and Rights There are several sources which influenced the production of this edition and understanding of the text. They are as follows: • • • • • • •

The Feminist Companion to Shakespeare Hamlet Signet edition Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English All critical essays Samuel Johnson Preface MLA Variorum Handbook Editing Shakespeare Class York University


Additional resources These additional resources are meant to be used by students and teachers and can be accessed on the teacher’s resource blog: "Feminist Editing and the Body of the Text" By: Laurie M. Maguire Laurie M. Maguire's essay "Feminist Editing and the Body of the text" found in The feminist companion to Shakespeare details a framework in which to understand how feminism can shape an edition of Shakespeare to accommodate the viewpoints of feminist politics. Maguire considers feminist editing 'a social agent for awareness and change that points out (and hence combats misogyny) in whatever form'.( Dympa, 59 ) Through this definition Maguire shows that 'male editors can be feminists, and that feminist editing can be performed on works by males as well as female authors'. Maguire proposes three main areas that have a potential for feminist contribution including a gender relevant textual crux, annotation (the editor's language in commentary notes) and the role of the introduction. Maguire writes: "Greg wrote that an editor should never alter his copy text unless the text is demonstrably wrong. But definitions of "wrong" depend on the literary interpretation as well as the textual information." ( Dympa, 57) An area that would need to be changed for instance includes the misspelling of words like 'his' or 'her'. Although, feminist editions do not contain many differences in the construction of text Maguire believes that annotation is an apparatus that can indicate a feminist edition. Maguire explains that notes can contain miniature essays, critical debates, editorial personality, expressions, and distaste. She infers that much like the treatment of racism and gender insensitive language that readers of a Renaissance text are encouraged to discuss and analyze, annotations and can be used to shed light on other important issues such as gender roles or sexism, concepts closely tied to equality and feminism. Other areas that Maguire believed can help create a 'feminist edition' are the introduction and dramatis personae. Maguire writes: "The degree of a rhetorical vigor required in a feminist introduction depends on the date of the edition and the critical history of thethe play." (Dympa, 71) Therefore, the introduction can also be divided into two parts, with the second half representing a 'critical commentary' or an essay length critical commentary of original discussion of the text's critical issues. With regards to the dramatis personae, Maguire details the use of females as predominant in the scene, or listed first rather than last, or simply having all of the characters listed in alphabetical order. ( Dympa, 72) Please see online teacher's edition for full article.


"Talking Sex" By: Bell Hooks The article 'Talking Sex' in Outlaw Culture: Resisting representations by Bell Hooks details how different types of feminism exist and how biases are created as a result between even feminists themselves. Hooks explains that women should seek positive media outlets to express their opinions. In the article the women fear going to mass media outlets because there is a possibility they may be misrepresented. A feminist women is interviewed for an article by Esquire magazine and the reporter that interviews her misrepresents her feminist standpoint. To improve the future of feminism Hooks analyses how feminism has suffered misconceptions in the past documenting their movement in literature, art, and film. The article concludes that true or "revolutionary" feminism accepts and supports men who are able to support the ideals of feminism and re-shape limited views on feminist movement and women. The author calls for both sexes to engage in perspectives that support gender equality and mutual respect. Please see online teacher's edition for full article. "Treason our Text: Feminist Challenges to the Literary Canon" By: Lillian Robinson "Treason our Text" is an article that justifies understanding biases in the creation of the English canon. Robinson highlights ways to further include women writers and editors by exposing current biases. Robinson believes that a "systematic neglect of women's experience in the literary canon,[exists] [and that this] neglect that takes the form of distorting and misreading the few recognized female writers and excluding others. Robinson writes: "The argument runs, that predominately male authors in a canon show us the female character and relations between the sexes in a way that both reflects and contributes to sexist ideology an aspect of these classic works about which the critical editions remained silent for generations. The feminist challenge, although intrinsically (and, to my mind, refreshingly) polemical, has not been simply a reiterated attack, but a series of suggested alternatives to the male-dominated membership and attitudes of the accepted canon. In this essay, I propose to examine these feminist alternatives, assess their impact on the standard canon, and propose some directions for further work. "( Robinson, Parker 571 ) For the purpose of this edition it needs to be noted that there is not a desire to create such a distinction between male and female editors as Robinson highlights but to simply model how we as a culture can change and shape the readings that we value as scholarly sources. Through maintaining a clearer focus on how even feminists can be oppressive and unfair to men we can highlight what needs to change on both sides of the coin; especially when aiming to create critiques of literature that promote and inspire equality. The canon as Robinson writes should be an area where continuous ideas, themes, and motifs and myths about the two sexes are continually confronted. Please see online teacher's edition for full article. Elaine Showalter Representing Ophelia: women, madness, and responsibilities of feminist criticism Elaine Showalter is a feminist critic who has been credited with editing the first textbook on women in literature. She is a reliable source in our understanding of women characters in Hamlet. Ophelia’s character is often portrayed with relationship to Hamlet’s own motives and feelings regarding her 8

actions. Elaine Showalter’s article details the importance of understanding Ophelia in Hamlet and recognizing the events of the play from her perspective. Showalter writes: “When feminist criticism allows Ophelia to upstage Hamlet, it also brings to the foreground the issues in an ongoing theoretical debate about the cultural links between femininity, female sexuality, insanity, and representation.” ( Showalter, Parker 78 ) Ophelia’s insanity has become a symbolism for female mental health in society today. Through re-shaping our views on her illness and understanding the culture and gender roles that shaped the circumstances of the play we can better understand both the male and female characters of Shakespeare’s play, and ultimately ourselves. Showalter explains that actresses who have played her role have been themselves mentally unstable enforcing the idea that a ‘woman’ cannot simply act ‘mad’ but is already a living embodiment of the illness. Showalter describes how her attire and stage directions affect the meaning of the play and the representation of Ophelia as a woman. ( Showalter, Parker 80-81) Please see online teacher's edition for full article. Samuel Johnsons’ Preface Johnson writes a very detailed account of Shakespeare’s life and the editor’s that have been involved in the production of his work. Although, there had been many translations of both Greek and Roman poetry and literary works Shakespeare was the first of his kind during his era. Johnson writes:

“But the greater part of his excellence was the product of his own genius. He found the English stage in

a state of the utmost rudeness; no essays either in tragedy or comedy had appeared, from which it could be discovered to what degree of delight either one or other might be carried. Neither character nor dialogue were yet understood. Shakespeare may be truly said to have introduced them both amongst us, and in some of his happier scenes to have carried them both to the utmost height.” Johnson further explores how the rejection and acceptance of editorial theory has shaped his own understanding of Shakespeare. For the purpose of this edition it is important to understand the historical references that have created the editions that feminist editions must respect and incorporate in practice. It is only in understanding culture and the editing practices that have existed before modern day that feminist editions can truly capture the essence of Shakespeare’s work. (Bartleby, n.pag ) Please see link for historical references to Hamlet: <> Please see online teacher's edition “Who is Shakespeare?” for full article.



Scene Summary Act 1V. v. In this scene Ophelia is recovering from the news of her Claudio’s death. She enters Hamlet’s court while singing wildly about events in her life and details of other characters in the play. The King and Queen attempt to understand her perplexing behavior while her brother Laertes returns astonished about his sister’s reaction to the death of her Father. Meanwhile, Hamlet has taken refuge in another country because of the matters which preceded the death of Polonius. Characters in this scene: Ophelia Gertrude King Laertes


[ * see Listed Annotations/Commentary as reference] Act 1V. v.

Enter Horatio, Queen Gertrude, and a Gentleman. Queen I will not speak with her.* Gentleman She is importunate,* Indeed, distract. Her mood will needs be pitied. 5Queen

What would she have?

Gentleman She speaks much of her father, says she hears* There's tricks* i'th'world, and hems*, and beats her heart, Spurns* enviously at straws*, speaks things in doubt That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing,* 10Yet the unshaped* use of it doth move The hearers to collection*; they yawn at it, 11And

botch* the words up fit to their own thoughts, Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them,* Indeed would make one think there might be thought, 15Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily. Horatio 'Twere good she were spoken with, for she may strew* Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds. Let her come in. [Exit Gentleman.] 20Queen [Aside] To my sick soul, as sin's* true nature is, Each toy* seems prologue* to some great amiss. So full of artless* jealousy is guilt,


It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. Enter Ophelia, playing on a lute, and her hair down, singing.**** 25Ophelia Where is the beauteous* majesty of Denmark? Queen How now, Ophelia? Ophelia She sings. How should I your true love know From another one? 30 By

his cockle hat *and staff, And his sandal shoon.*

Queen Alas, sweet lady, what imports* this song? Ophelia Say you? Nay, pray you, mark. * Song. 35

He is dead and gone, lady,

He is dead and gone. At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone. Oho! 40Queen Nay, but Ophelia-Ophelia Pray you, mark. Song. White his shroud* as the mountain snowâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; Enter King. 45Queen Alas*, look here, my lord. Ophelia [Song.] Larded with sweet flowers, * Which bewept *to the ground did not go With true-love showers.



How do you, pretty lady?

Ophelia Well God'ield you. They say the owl was a baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table* King Conceit *upon her father. Ophelia Pray let's have no words of this, but when they ask you what it means, say you this: 55Song.

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's Day, * All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window To be your Valentine. 60 Then up he rose, and donned his clothes And dupped the chamber door, Let in the maid, that out a maid * Never departed more. King Pretty Ophelia--* 65Ophelia


Indeed, la? Without an oath *I'll make an end on't.

By Gis and by Saint Charity,


Alack, and fie for shame! Young men will do't if they come to't By Cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, "Before you tumbled *me,

You promised me to wed." He answers, "So would I ha' done, by yonder sun, 75An

thou hadst not come to my bed."


King How long hath she been thus? Ophelia I hope all will be well. We must be patient. But I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him i'th'cold ground. My brother shall know of it. And so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies, good night, 80 sweet ladies, good night, good night. Exit. King [To Horatio.] Follow her close. Give her good watch, I pray you. [Exit Horatio.] Oh, this is the poison of deep grief! It springs 85All from her father's deathâ&#x20AC;&#x161; and now behold! Oh, Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies But in battalions. * First, her father slain; Next, your son gone, and he most violent author 90Of his own just remove; the people muddied, * Thick and unwholesome *in their thoughts and whispers For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly* In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia Divided from herself* and her fair judgment, 95Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts; Last, and as much containing as all these, Her brother is in secret come from France, Feeds on this wonder, keeps himself in clouds, And wants not buzzers to infect his ear 100With pestilent speeches of his father's death, Wherein* necessity, of matter beggared, Will nothing stick our person to arraign * In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this, Like to a murd'ring piece, in many places Gives me superfluous *death. A noise within. 105Enter a Messenger. Queen Alack, what noise is this? King Attend! Where is my Switzers? Let them guard the door. 110What is the matter? Messenger Save yourself, my lord! The ocean, overpeering of his list, Eats not the flats with more impeteous* haste 115Than young Laertes, in a riotous head, O'erbears* your officers. The rabble* call him lord, And, as the world were now but to begin, Antiquity* forgot, custom not known, 15

The ratifiers* and props of every word, 120They cry, "Choose we! Laertes shall be king!" Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds: "Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!" Queen How cheerfully on the false trail* they cry! A noise within. 125Oh, this is counter, you false Danish dogs! Enter Laertes with others. King The doors are broke. Laertes Where is this king?--Sirs, stand you all without. All No, let's come in. 130Laertes I pray you, give me leave. All We will, we will. Laertes I thank you. Keep the door. [Exeunt followers and Messenger.] 135 O thou vile* king, Give me my father! Queen Calmly, good Laertes. Laertes That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard, 140Cries "Cuckold!" * to my father, brands the harlot* Even here between the chaste* unsmirchèd brow Of my true mother. King

What is the cause, Laertes, 145That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?-Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person. There's such divinity *doth hedge a king That treason can but peep to what it would, Acts little of his will*.--Tell me, Laertes, 150Why thou art thus incensed? *--Let him go, Gertrude.-Speak, man. Laertes Where is my father? King Dead. Queen But not by him. 155King Let him demand his fill. Laertes How came he dead? I'll not be juggled*with. To hell, allegiance! *Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation. *To this point I stand, 160That both the worlds I give to negligence, *


Let come what comes, only I'll be revenged Most throughly for my father. King Who shall stay you? Laertes My will, not all the world's. 165And for my means, I'll husband them so well* They shall go far with little. King Good Laertes, If you desire to know the certainty 170Of

your dear father, is't writ in your revenge That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe, Winner and loser? Laertes None but his enemies, King Will you know them, then? 175Laertes

To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms, And, like the kind life-rend'ring* pelican, Repast them with my blood. King Why, now you speak 180Like a good child and a true gentleman. That I am guiltless of your father's death, And am most sensibly in grief for it, It shall as level to your judgment 'pear As day does to your eye. 185A noise within. Voices within Let her come in! Laertes How now, what noise is that? Enter Ophelia [as before]. O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt 190Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye! By heaven, thy madness shall be paid with weight Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May, Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia! O heavens, is't possible a young maid's wits 195Should be as mortal as an old man's life? Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine It sends some precious instance of itself After the thing it loves. Ophelia Song. 200

They bore him bare-faced on the bier,

Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny, And on his grave rained many a tear. Fare you well, my dove. 17

Laertes Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, 205It could not move thus. Ophelia You must sing "a-down, a-down," an you call him "a-down-a." Oh, how the wheel becomes it!It is the false steward* that stole his master's daughter. Laertes This nothing's more than matter. Ophelia There's rosemary; that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And 210there 210is pansies; that's for thoughts. * Laertes A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted. Ophelia There's fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o'Sundays. You may wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they withered all when 215my father died. They say 215'a made a good end. [She sings.] For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy. Laertes Thought and afflictions, passion, hell itself She turns to favor and to prettiness.* 220 Ophelia Song. And will 'a not come again? And will 'a not come again? No, no, he is dead, Go to thy deathbed, 225 He never will come again. His beard was as white as snow, All flaxen was his poll. He is gone, he is gone, And we cast away moan. 230 God 'a' mercy on his soul! And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God b'wi' you! Exit Ophelia, [followed by the Queen.] Laertes Do you see this, O God? King Laertes, I must commune with your grief, 235Or you deny me right. Go but apart, Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will, And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me. If by direct or by collateral hand They find us touched, we will our kingdom give, 240Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours To you in satisfaction; but if not, Be you content to lend your patience to us, And we shall jointly labor with your soul To give it due content. 245Laertes Let this be so. His means of death, his obscure* funeral-No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones, No noble rite, nor formal ostentation--* 250Cry to be heard as 'twere from heaven to earth, That I must call't in question. King So you shall, And where th'offense is, let the great ax fall. 255I pray you go with me Exeunt. 18

Critical Commentary Act 4 scene 5 Define Gender equality and Depression as illness and give specific examples of each relating to character in this scene. Ophelia Father is murdered by her lover Hamlet causing her to grieve publicly. She is also grieving the identity that her Father’s instruction and counsel provided for her. Meanwhile, she is also betrayed by the only man she believes loves her, Hamlet. Since she is not sure of her own empowerment and independence she begins to doubt her ability to live life normally. The result is Ophelia feeling disconnected and desperate to escape the pain she is feeling. She resorts to childlike songs reverting to a demeanor in which she once happy. (Song Lines: 27-29, 47-49, 56-63, 67-72, 200-203) The relationships between men and women in this scene are stifled and forced. While trying to make sense of her madness they are also trying to act appropriately within customs and social boundaries of their time period. While Ophelia experiences her ‘madness’ in song she becomes freed of all social norms and customs using this opportunity to be vocal about what is truly affecting her psyche. In this scene Ophelia is at once powerful although perceived by bystanders as “crazy” and “comical”. The gentlemen offer a commentary in which to understand Ophelia that is filled with references of pity and doubt, while her speech is cited as meaning “nothing”. ( Line :9 ) The characters in this seen experience a bystander affect in that they all see her pain but are unwilling to relate to her feelings without pity. In order, to truly save Ophelia they must empower her and help her believe in her strength but they merely reinforce that she is raving lunatic. However, in reality she is not insane she is grieving the loss of innocence through loosing the trust of her first love and the tradition and identity that her Father and the men in her life provided for her. While Ophelia is challenged to remain silent her brother in the scene is allowed to verbally threaten those who wronged him. In contrast, to his relationship with Hamlet Horatio views her insanity as dangerous causing “conjectures” in ill-breeding minds. While Hamlet is only a danger to himself, Ophelia is viewed a danger to others as well. This is striking considering he has sympathized with Hamlet’s mental health. The Queen makes no offer to understand or relate to her as another woman with the danger of herself being viewed as “frail” or “weak”. If she defends Ophelia at all she could be discredited by the other men present in the court. She talks of Ophelia’s madness as a “prologue to some great amiss”. Yes, her Father has just died and her son has just murdered him, but Gertrude offers no support in any way that would show she sympathizes with Ophelia. The King and Queen attempt to silence Ophelia ( Line: 40 ) but when prompts Laertes to speak of his feelings gives him respect and a willing ear. He is invited to question the events by the King ( Line: 156 ) ashe feels he is strong enough to handle the facts.The King’s only reference to his sister is “pretty Ophelia” (Line: 61) while Learters is called “good’ by the female character in the scene.( Line: 138) Ophelia must forget the lies that society has given her about herself along with the lies she has began to believe herself because of her domineering Father and faulty relationships she found within her relationships with men. Ophelia is more than beautiful as her song suggests she has true feelings that need to be heard and respected. Her song is a love song for the life she had loved and lost and a cry for understanding and respect.


Act 1V Final Questions: Submit your responses to the Class Questions Section on the What negative images do you receive in this Act about men and women ? Hold valid is this image in modern society ? What similarities do the characterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s have in this scene? How are Hamlet and Ophelia equals ? Un-equals ?

Scene Journal Questions: Submit to Class Assignments on the

How big of an issue is sexism in my culture ? How did Shakespeareâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s culture influence the way women were portrayed in text ? Have I been bullied or bullied others because they are different ? What are the benefits of talking to someone you trust about your feelings ?

One Step further: Upload a picture using your social media that promotes gender equality. Organize an event with your class which aims to end bullying. Ask your parents how they feel about gender equality.


Listed Annotations Commentary Reference 2 Gertrude - is Ophelia’s only female confidant. She cannot accept another women’s weakness or it will reflect her own.

4 importunate - she is persistent and distracted. ( Oxford Dictionary) They feel sorry for her, rather than attempting to empower her. Madness is considered a sign of weakness. 5 Gertrude wants to know why she acting this way. 6 When Ophelia’s father dies she feels lost because he helped form her identity through his advice and counsel. She is used to the males in her life pacifying her every worry or complaint and making her decisions for her.

7 tricks - schemes undertake to deceive. ( Glaser, 132) She cannot trust the world because society

has wronged her. hems - sewing “needs fixing”, the world’s problems which weigh on her conscience “heart” reference to her feminine qualities.

8 spurn - to reject or confuse with contempt. ( Oxford Dictionary) straws - a slight addition to a burden that makes it unbearable. ( Oxford Dictionary) 9 her speech is nothing -Her speech is everything that gives her power metaphorically irony: a male says this to her enforcing a bias between men and women. Showalter references how female speech is subdued and how feminism challenges this belief. ( Showalter, Parker 79 ) 10 speech -needs to be ‘shaped’ shows need for male dominance and compliance to law.( Showalter, Parker 79)

11 And botch the words up to fit their own thoughts . Although, she is arguably insane she is the

most sure o the feelings behind all the words. People who listen only interpret what they want to hear or what pleases them. They do not consider that she is grieving and deserves a chance to grieve in the manner she deems appropriate.

12 Her body language surrenders her to their thoughts. 16 strew – scatter dangerous conjectures or opinions based on incomplete information. ( Oxford

Dictionary) She may spread false information to others which could result in slander. No one is seeing the validity of her claims because she is not behaving in the manner a Renaissance women should.

20 sin - the breaking of moral or divine law. ( Glaser, 133) 21 toy consider without seriousness prologue – any event leading to another. Gertrude is saying that Ophelia should not be taken seriously amiss wrong act of order; wrongly inappropriately. ( Oxford



22 artless – without guilt or deceit, natural and simple. Ophelia has the freedom to express how she feels and it disturbs Gertrude but may also make her jealous.( Oxford Dictionary) 23 spills- she fears saying the wrong thing as her thoughts are flowing continuously inside her. split – a distraction from the norm, women are contained in social roles. Both Gertrude and

Ophelia were forced to contain feelings about their relationships in order not to show weakness. ( Oxford Dictionary)

24 Ophelia stage entrance: Feminist critic Elaine Showalter would argue the symbolism of her

attire in this scene. “Her behavior, her appearance, her gestures, her costume, her props, are freighted with emblematic significance, and for many generations of Shakespearean critics her part in the play has seemed to be primarily iconographic. Ophelia’s symbolic meanings, moreover, are specifically feminine. Whereas for Hamlet madness is metaphysical, linked with culture, for Ophelia it is the product of the female body and female nature, perhaps nature in it’s purest form. ( Showalter, Parker 80-81)

25 beauticous - beautiful. ( Oxford Dictionary) Ophelia is being sarcastic as she sings in her next song about Gertrude’s inability to choose one love. Women are objectified with regards to their appearance in this play. 30 cockle - double meaning ‘shell’ or to make one contented staff a stick used as a support or weapon ( hat is a weapon) . shoon- an open shoe ship with two or more masts. ( Oxford Dictionary)

32 import- bring into a country.( Oxford Dictionary) 33 Nay- rather mark a sign that identifies something, an indication of quality or feeling .( Oxford Dictionary)

36 He is dead and gone - Her father is dead like the Queen’s husband and he is buried. 43 shroud- a sheet for wrapping a course for burial. ( Oxford Dictionary)

45 alas - an expression of guilt or sorrow.( Oxford Dictionary) 47 larded - embellish flowers - the flowers or the funeral were also used for the wedding. ( Oxford Dictionary)

48 bewept- to weep over, to deplore, to bedew with tears (

In the article “Feminist Editing and the Body of the Text” Laurie Maguire highlights several instances where the tears of women were not to be taken seriously ( Maguire, 65) Although, she is speaking from her heart Ophelia is considered crazy by the characters in this scene.

51 the owl was a baker’s daughter- sign of intelligence god be at your table- she knows him responsible for adultery. ( Oxford Dictionary) 53 conceit- a confusing metaphor about her Father. ( No Fear Shakespear) 56 valentine- a note card or gift given as a token of love on Valentine’s day ( Oxford Dictionary) 22

62 let in the maid that out maid – the value of chastity and morality. He let in the girl and when she left she wasn’t a virgin anymore. ( No fear Shakespeare)

64 pretty Ophelia - comment on her ‘beauty’ and feminine qualities. 65 oath - a solemn promise to do something or naming something as true. ( Oxford Dictionary) 71 " tumbled" fall suddenly into bed or to have sexual intercourse. He promised to marry her if they

were together but then he says he would have had she kept herself chaste. ( No fear Shakespeare) The idea that women must preserve chastity and moral behavior is what keeps them from being vocal about their exploits. She cannot believe that her Father has died. Unfortunately, Ophelia sees herself as a victim rather than a survivor. Hamlet does not oppress her as much as she oppresses herself.

88 battalions - a large body of soldiers or a group of people pursuing a common aim. ( Glaser 135) 90 muddied- muddled (Glaser, 135) bring into disorder. ( Oxford Dictionary) 91 unwholesome- unhealthy but 'greenly'- foolishly and hugger mugger -secret haste. ( Glaser, 135 ) ( Oxford Dictionary)

94 divided from herself- she doesn't know who to trust pestilient- pestilence a fatal epidemic disease, annoying. ( Oxford Dictionary)

101 wherein- in what place or respect beggard he has no other resources to make sense of what happened. ( Oxford Dictionary)

102 arraign- call onto answer a criminal charge before the court. ( Oxford Dictionary) 105 superfluous- more than necessary. ( Oxford Dictionary) 114 impetuous haste - a driving force or impulse, quickness excessive. ( Oxford Dictionary) 116 o'erbears; rabble - a large disorderly group of people, the lower classes. ( Oxford Dictionary) 118 antiquity- physical remains or customs from ancient times. ( Oxford Dictionary) 119 ratifiers - confirm or accept an argument made in one's name ( Oxford Dictionary) 123 'false trail' - wrong path 138 vile- disgusting Good Laertes v.s pretty Ophelia – the male character Laertes is judged for his character while Ophelia is judged merely for her beauty 140 cuckold - a man whose wife is unfaithful harlot- a prostitute ( Oxford Dictionary) 140 chaste - choosing not to have sex before marriage, not sexual in nature. ( Oxford Dictionary) 147 divinity- the state or quality of being good hedge- a protection against possible loss. ( Oxford Dictionary)

149 'acts little of his will'- uncontrollable or forced actions. Why is Laertes 23

156 juggled - performs feats of dexterity. ( Oxford Dictionary) 157 allegiance - loyalty ( to a person or cause). ( Oxford Dictionary) 159 damnation- condemnation to hill informal or expressing anger. ( Oxford Dictionary) 161 neglience - a lack of proper care and attention. ( Oxford Dictionary) 163 husband them so well- take control so well, masculinity is associated with success. 176 life rendering - cause to be or become. ( Oxford Dictionary) 177 steward- Hamlet 209 – 215 types of flowers: ( Oxford Dictionary) rosemary - mint for remembrance pansies- richly colored plant for thoughts fennel- plant with fragrant seeds and fine leaves with a mild licorice flavor used as flavoring for columbines – pointed flowers rue- medicine for you with a difference daisy- a plant bearing flowers with a yellow disc and white rays 219 favor and prettiness- The only thing they are sure of now is that she is beautiful. 247 obscure – not clearly expressed or understood .( Oxford Dictionary) 249 ostentation – an exaggerated display of wealth which is intended to impress. ( Oxford



References Glaser, Milton, The Signet Classic Shakespeare Hamlet. United States: The New American Library, 1963. Hooks, Bell: Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. New York: Routledge.1994 Print Showalter, Elaine. “Representing Ophelia”.Shakespeare and the Question of Theory. Eds Parker, Patricia et al Harman, Geofrey H.New York and London: 1985 Maguire, E. Laurie. “ Feminist Editing”.A feminist Companion to Shakespeare. Dympa, Callaghan. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 2001 . Modern Editor’s Version Base text. Ed.University of Victoria . 31 May. 2012.<> No Fear Shakespeare. Ed. Sparknotes 2012 31 May <> Internet Dictionary. 2012 31 May <> Oxford Canadian Dictionary of Current English. Canadian Edition. Canada: Oxford University Press Canada, 2005. Robinson, Lillian “Treason our tex”.Feminist Literary Theory and Criticism A Norton Reader. Eds.Gilbert, Sandra M , et Gubar Susan.United States, 2007. Samuel Johnson Preface to Shakespeare. Ed. Author. 2012. 31 May. 2012 .< >

*All image credits including personal photographs and designs are accomplished by Katherine Kehoe.


Ophelia's hamlet, katherine kehoe[1]  

An edition of Hamlet which explores concepts of social justice and feminism at the high school level. Ophelia's Hamlet is an exceptional res...