Thursday, November 17, 2016

Abby's Review of London Theater's Hamlet

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As has already been addressed, London Theater's production of Shakespeare's Hamlet was absolutely incredible. I'm wanting to focus my review on the scene directly before Ophelia's death. I was initially confused of the significance of her camera and the photographs, as it contributed to the ambiguity of the time setting of the play, but I felt that it helped to imply that Ophelia's death was indeed a suicide.

She enters the room after Laertes' return, pulling a large trunk off to the side. She then passes out flowers to everyone. She has everyone congregate around the trunk, plays a note on the piano, and then sings. Her despair for her father's death is obviously apparent in her shaking voice and pitchy tone, and the rest of the characters bow their heads as if in prayer.

To me, this scene appeared to be a makeshift funeral for Polonius. Hamlet had hidden the body, and so a true funeral service was impossible. The characters' universal bowing of heads showed that they were all in understanding of the meaning and significance of the event. Then everyone disperses and Ophelia walks out the door into the light. The pictures come to be significant when Gertrude opens the trunk to reveal all of the photographs that Ophelia had collected. If Ophelia's camera and photographs were significantly indicative of her character, a funeral for her photographs indicates a funeral for Ophelia. This is why Gertrude was so shocked after revealing the photographs, and then runs after Ophelia.

Where controversy exists over whether or not Ophelia truly committed suicide or drowned by accident in the garden, this scene illustrates an argument that Ophelia had intentions to kill herself.

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