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"Ophelia:What Does She Represent?"
Ophelia:What Does She Represent?
Kelly G Hess
Ophelia: What Does She Represent?

To begin looking at Ophelia we first have to understand that the easiest way to do this is from a feminist point of view. There are three types of feminist theories: the French, British, and American. "The French feminists have tended to focus their attention on language, analyzing the ways in which meaning is produced" (Wofford 208). "American feminist critics have shared with the French critics both an interest in and cautious distrust of the concept of feminine writing" (Wofford 210). "British Feminists tend to distinguish themselves from what they see as an American overemphasis on popular art and culture. They regard their own critical practice as more political than that of the American feminists" (Wofford 212).

Elaine Showalter is an American feminist critic who in 1985 wrote an essay about Ophelia. In her essay she probes a number of questions that have to deal with Ophelia. In looking at these questions a lot of different ideas can be formulated about the character Ophelia however, she specifically looks at the links between femininity, female sexuality, insanity, and representation (Showalter 31).

"Ophelia is probably the most frequently illustrated and cited of Shakespeare's heroines. Her visibility as a subject in literature, popular culture, and painting…" (Showalter 31). Her visibility can be seen in a lot of different places. Some of the most common things that you may see are paintings. A lot of artists have spent time in giving us their versions of Ophelia drowning. In a spoof of Shakespeare entitled Shakespeare's

Ladies Ophelia is one of the ladies that come to help the young Juliet. Even though in the play Hamlet Ophelia is not a major character that you see in each scene, she actually could be labeled as an invisible character, in popular society she has become very visible.


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"Ophelia:What Does She Represent?." May 24, 2018
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