anonymous asked:

I was wonderin if I could get your thoughts. Want to write from Ophelia's pov but I really can't get a grip on her character. She loved Hamlet - but did he undermine her? Repress her like all the other men of her time did, and that was why they split? Did he just become blind to her 'madness'? WAS she mad? Would she have thought his quest silly and self-centred? Did she aspire to greater things she couldnt achieve as a woman? (stay tuned 4 part 2)

part 2: How did the men in her life let her down /exactly/? she’s not super fleshed out and I could use some thoughts. For e.g. I’m also writing about Desdemona and focusing on abusive relationships, but it’s much harder to pinpoint a specific subject matter for Ophelia (the idea is giving voice to victims of patriarchy in literature) just because all the text on her is very vague e.g “she was oppressed” like ok gimme some to work with here pham. Anyway would love your thoughts/take on her <3

Sounds like an interesting project… and lots of questions to answer!

I assume you saw this post, which covers some of the problems you address, but I’ll try to answer your questions more specifically.

Insofar as Ophelia is a fictional character, some of your questions are unanswerable. There’s nothing in the text that can give us an accurate assessment of what Ophelia would have thought of Hamlet’s quest and whether she aspired to greater things, for instance. That can be up to you as a creative writer to imagine.

As to why they split up (if they were ever exactly together), the indication is that Ophelia broke off the relationship with Hamlet because her father and brother told her to: ‘as you did command / I did repel his letter and denied / His access to me’ (2.1.105-7). It can’t really be blamed on Hamlet. That’s a typical instance of patriarchal values dictating a woman’s life and how she ought to appear before marriage, and how she ought to act towards men who might not marry her. If the obsession with virginity and purity didn’t exist, then there would be no need for Ophelia’s father and brother to monitor her activity and look out for her. But it’s important to note that Polonius and Laertes’s words and actions are also dictated by patriarchal values that they didn’t make up themselves. Objectively, one can say she was let down by them, but as far as they’re concerned (and as far as Ophelia’s concerned too), they’re looking after her interests.

As for Ophelia, she never actually says exactly what she thinks of Hamlet. She only says that Hamlet has been courting her, but not her feelings. In fact, she says to her father ‘I do not know, my lord, what I should think’ (1.3.103), suggesting either that she’s intimidated by her father, or that she doesn’t have much of a mind of her own (itself an interesting indication of her position). Basically, the text leaves quite a lot of leeway for actors to play her as they like: she could be clearly in love and grudgingly obeying her father and brother, she might be confused, or she might just be going along with whatever she’s told (feeling for Hamlet because he feels for her, stopping seeing him because she was told not to). She does later say that seeing Hamlet mad makes her ‘of ladies most deject and wretched’ (3.1.154), and since Hamlet killing her father is enough to send her mad, she is probably quite fond of him. I don’t say she didn’t love Hamlet, but unlike characters like Juliet or Desdemona, she never says anything passionate to or about Hamlet.

There’s nothing in the text that would suggest Hamlet is undermining Ophelia, but he does insult her and her gender, especially during the nunnery scene (3.1.141-45). Telling her to go to a nunnery isn’t insulting in itself, but he goes on a whole tirade about women and their ways that would be nothing but confusing from her perspective. She does end up putting it down to his madness though, so she doesn’t seem to take that to heart: ‘O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!’ (3.1.149).

The text does suggest that Ophelia really does go mad, and that the madness is caused by the death of her father at the hands of her lover: all of her songs after she goes mad are about death and sex. This is the biggest hint of the kind of oppression she’s been under: she never talks about sex before she’s mad, which shows that her madness has freed her to talk about the things that actually concern her. This suggests that the patriarchal values that dictate her constrain her not to talk about sex. But you’ve got to remember that Hamlet and Ophelia are never on stage together after she goes mad, so there’s nothing for him to notice. The last time they spend together is in the Mousetrap scene, Hamlet goes to England, and when he returns, she’s dead.

I think the important thing to remember with Ophelia is that there are more men in her life than Hamlet, and that patriarchy and oppression don’t necessarily manifest in certain actions. That is to say that the men in her life don’t have to have let her down for her to be oppressed by patriarchy. This is because, while it can lead to abusive actions and particular instances of mistreatment of women and abusive relationships, patriarchy points to the larger systemic oppression of women that prevents them from acting freely, it’s not necessarily about individual men. There are some moments when this becomes clearer, for instance when she is made to act a certain way (and not see Hamlet) because of social expectations, or where it turns out that the suppression she feels is so strong that the loss of her father is enough to drive her mad, but it’s not like there are exact and specific instances of abuse and repression in Ophelia’s case, because what she’s suffering under reflects a much wider problem caused by the values of the patriarchal society she lives in but that neither she nor the people around her are necessarily aware of.

I’m afraid Shakespeare isn’t simple. Nothing is black and white, and being a victim of a situation often involves forces much larger than a few individuals and their lives.

The Entire Trump Campaign Right Now:

“Did you collude with the Russians, sir?”

“I did collude, sir.”

“Did you collude with the Russians, sir?”

“Is the law on our side if I say aye?”


“No, sir, I did not collude with the Russians, but I did collude, sir.”

anonymous asked:

I need the story of the Underground Shakespearian Ring

Okay, so the school I went to for 9th grade had this really bizarre grading setup that I still don’t understand- for some reason, instead of the teachers writing up and grading tests and exams and the like, all the work was sent to an unknown third party for them to grade??? It made no sense.

Now, for the most part, the school had decent teachers, and they would just teach the curriculum correctly and then you wouldn’t run into problems with the grading. My English teacher was not one of those teachers.

So like, she hated me pretty early on- she was my homeroom teacher and thought it was disrespectful that I slept in homeroom in the mornings (I was on sleeping pills and they never wore off completely until around 10am), I never had the vocab homework in on time (someone kept breaking into my locker and stealing my vocab books I had to buy a new one like five times), she thought it was “inherently pessimistic and stuck up” when she caught me reading a book called ‘Ninth Grade Slays’ (it was about vampires, not her?), and during our Greek Mythology unit I kept correcting her about the name pronunciations of the gods (she pronounced Hephaestus as Hepatitis one time holy shit). 

Anyway, her feelings on me aside, her teaching skills were shoddy at best. But I had had way worse teachers, so had the rest of the class, and Greek myths are pretty straight-up in what’s going on, so no one really had trouble with the third-party tests.

Then we get to the Romeo and Juliet unit.

Now, fun fact: Shakespeare has always come pretty easily to me. Like, to the point where I sometimes forget/fail to understand that other people have an incredibly hard time translating his works. (I told this whole story to my friends in the school I went to for 10th/11th/12th grade and when the drama department put on ‘Midsummers Night Dream’ one year, more than half the cast tried to get me to translate their scripts and monologues for them lmao).

So, anyway, I’m just a girl, reading Romeo and Juliet and digging how it’s going…and then the teacher starts ‘translating’ it.


I cannot sift through all the bullshit this woman was spewing, but let’s just say that my favorite part is during Romeo’s spew about Rosaline, there’s one part where he says something like ‘with cupid’s arrow/she hath diane’s will’, and the teacher was taking this to mean Rosaline was a Super Lesbian who was breaking the law or something and running away with her lover Diane, which would be a rad storyline, sure, but like…I’m just raising my hand like “Um Ma’am, Diana is the Roman goddess of chastity. What Romeo meant is that she told him she’s sworn off love and is probably becoming a nun?” and this woman just got. So angry. Like, excuse me, you are a student, you’re here to learn, so you clearly don’t know anything about this (I read Romeo and Juliet for the first time in like preschool whoops). Anyway, she continues on making up her own plot to the play, and I…well I was basically Hermione Fucking Granger at this point I couldn’t just sit there and listen to someone be this wrong about something omfg??? She just got angrier and angrier and stopped calling on me after a while.

So for a couple lessons I’m just left to seethe quietly, but one day after class this girl I knew since grade school came up to me and was like “Could you…? Tell me what the hell we’re supposed to be learning?” and I didn’t even like her but I liked the validation of being someone’s Chosen Teacher so I wrote out a summary for her of everything we had covered so far so she could actually write a comprehendible essay for our homework that night.

But THEN the during the class when we got our essays back, she made a HUGE DEAL, like ‘oh Molly, it wasn’t bad enough that you’ve been failing this course material, now you have to drag your friends into it by trying to re-write the play?’ (l m a o). Like this bitch had literally tried to fight me on ‘Paris is the guy Juliet’s father wants her to marry’ and she didn’t even put a grade on my essay where I said the play only ended in tragedy because of how young and naïve the kids were, that if they had taken a breather and thought things through it probably would’ve been fine (it was a damn good essay and I stand by it). But anyway, she’s trying to make me out to my classmate’s as someone who’s trying to sabotage their education for laughs.

This backfired on her.

See, it dawned on people one by one, that she was only teaching the wrong material -> so they wouldn’t know the right material -> so when they eventually would take the exams they would only have her crazy answers -> which the third party graders wouldn’t know about -> everyone fails this course that’s like half the overall grade of the year.

Most students consider that a problem.

So suddenly the class has decided I’m the fucking Shakespeare Whisperer or something, and one by one start begging me for help. At first I was confused, because as I said, it’s so easy for me that I didn’t realize literally the entire class was lost out of their asses here. omfg. So I was really getting hassled here but I didn’t want my entire class to fail you know???? So I started meeting with people during study halls or texting them after school so they knew what was going on. And then they started telling people in this teacher’s other classes, including upperclassmen who were lost as fuck, so this was quickly spiraling out of control on my end, but overall people were really starting to understand the plays better!! So I was feeling really great.

But then, the teacher noticed that none of the homework getting handed in to her matched up with her crazy translations, and knew I was the sole person to blame (naturally). She literally tried to get me suspended over this, she went to the school’s disciplinarian!

Note: This guy, Mr. C, knew I was a God damn angel- my science class was off the charts, inappropriately awful, so every time one of our science teacher’s wanted to give the entire class detention, instead of calling Mr. C up to the class room as was the rule, they’d send me down to get him so he’d know to write up every student except for me. So when my English teacher dragged me in there he was looking her like “What on Earth could this girl have possibly done to piss you off?” 😂😂

And when she explained he looked at her for a very long moment, glanced at me with a signature ‘Office’ Reaction Face™ , turned back to her and was like “You want her suspended…for starting a study group?” and I was CHOKING.

So that really pissed her off and they started fighting and this was a very overworked and Done man so at some point he gave up and was like “I’m not suspending her but fine we can put a ban on the study group if you leave my office” omfg. So all the other students get notified and now they’re back to freaking out about the upcoming exams.

So like two days later, I’m at lunch, complaining about this to one of my friends who had a different English teacher and thus no problem, and I’m on this whole angry rant (Because I’m pissed, a bunch of kid’s grades are gonna get fucked up because of this! They just wanted to do well! I just wanted to help them!) and my friends staring at me quietly the whole time and when I finish I’m like “What?” and she’s just like “…Molly did you literally start up Dumbledore’s Army in our fucking school?” and I died on scene.

But then I started thinking about the comparison and I was like? You know fucking what? If Harry Potter can get those kids to pass their fucking DADA test I can help kids pass their fucking English Exam. Bring it the fuck on, Umbridge.

So I started Spreading The Word that anyone who needs help with their Shakespeare course can still get help, we just all need to meet up once to hash out the details. After some back and forth notes and deliberations, we ended up meeting in the school library, which was hilarious for a few reasons:

1) It was directly across the hall from this teacher’s classroom.

2) It was actually a converted janitors closet, way smaller than all the other classrooms, and there were like 50 people shoved in there; Not exactly an ideal Room of Requirement

3) The library carried no Shakespeare texts, but had the entire Harry Potter series on display to see when you first walked in

But anyway, despite the fact that we were literally three feet away from her door while we were doing this, our teacher was none the wiser of the meeting. We worked out a game plan- everyone writes out bullshit essays that align with what the teacher’s expecting. After she grades those and gives them back, they get them to me- slipping them in my locker, handing it to me discreetly in the halls or in another class, what have you. I then try to power through the dizzying amount of confusion radiating out of the teacher’s mouth and onto these papers, and more or less write out better translation of what was going on in whatever scene they covered, what the highlights they needed to know were, stuff like that, and then slip it back to them in similar discreet fashion (so the teacher/disciplinarian wouldn’t see me and get suspicious ; also because I was like 15 and wanted to feel like a super cool secret agent). They would then keep my copies and use them as study guides for the upcoming exams, where they would then answer all the questions correctly, the way the third party graders would mark correctly, and pass the exams + the bullshit essays would get them high marks in the teacher’s homework grades. The teacher never caught on to what was happening, just thought her students finally started paying attention to her.

All in all, it was a complicated mess, but it fucking worked. I don’t think anyone failed their exams that year. Will I ever be cooler? No. I think I fucking peaked when I was 15.

Sonnet for President Trump

Shall I compare thee to a Shakespeare play?
Thou art less clever and less literate,
But how else should poor poets have their say?
Alas, our leader lacks a donkey’s wit!
Sometime too fierce the fire of ego burns,
And when a man is made to look a fool,
He rages ’gainst the mockery he earns,
As little boys will cry when teas’d at school.
But thy eternal tantrums shall not wane,
Nor shalt thou e’er unclench thy tiny fists,
Nor listen when the people dare to say,
“’Tis you, dear sir, who made a scene of this.”
        So long as men can breathe and speech is free,
        The Bard shall speak and show thy shame to thee.

(4 July 2017, in honor and defense of freedom of artistic expression)


It features:

  • choose-your-own-path Shakespeare
  • sharks
  • you, controlling William Shakespeare, punching those sharks
  • also you can punch a dinosaur
  • illustrated endings by the BEST ARTISTS WORKING TODAY
  • thumbs getting bit
  • Ophelia killing everyone and you having to deal with that
  • Yorick needing to die so Hamlet can hold up his skull eventually
  • AND MORE??

if this sounds interesting then I encourage you to click on the following hyper link!!!


<3 <3 <3