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Ophelia as Protagonist: Elsinore (2019) vs. Ophelia (2019)

The recent film Ophelia (2018), starring Daisy Ridley, and the crowdfunded video game Elsinore (2019) marks the latest in an increasingly popular trend of adapting Hamlet by shifting its focus from its conflicted titular character to his doomed lady love. While adaptations focusing on supporting or minor characters in Hamlet are by no means uncommon (with Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead as the most notable example), the focus on Ophelia in particular is something new. Ask: why the especial focus on Ophelia, ever-popular in art, as a protagonist? What about Ophelia made it universally panned while Elsinore has been almost universally praised? Which version offers a more compelling take on the character and the story of Hamlet?

  • I'm not familiar with either of these particular works, but one reason why Ophelia in particular is a popular character might have something to do with the way her situation reflects those of girls in general, throughout history. For instance, there is a fairly well-known nonfiction book called Reviving Ophelia, which talks about the toxic messages that young girls receive in modern times. Simply put, there's something relatable about Ophelia to a girl living in a patriarchal society, where the men in her life try to use her as an object or a pawn. – Debs 5 years ago
  • This is an excellent time to examine this question, as there seems to be renewed interest in the perspective of the character, as well as Ophelia's overall depiction within Hamlet. – Sean Gadus 5 years ago

The morbidity and cynicism of Shakespeare's worlds

An examination of how dark and morbid the worlds in Shakespeare’s plays are, as they’re depicted in small vignettes and windows through either historical explanation, or character aside and motivation. See Hamlet, for a world that is ravaged by war and suspicion and lies, and see Richard III for a world that is corrupted by the banality of evil and its persuasive charm.

Othello is also a good look at a world that has a very strong/power sense of "justice": the enemy ships are destroyed by a a storm, Othello must have used magic to trick Desdemona into marrying him, the trustworthiness of "close allies".

How does that cynicism reflect Shakespeare’s time and our own with making the plays and stories so long-lasting?

  • There is a pattern in Shakespeare's plays of characters in disguise or pretending to be other characters in order to advance their status...this could be relative to our own use of deception in our own lives and the way we portray ourselves online. – katrinafowler 9 years ago