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Hamlet And Ophelia
The character Ophelia in William Shakespeares play Hamlet plays a very
interesting and important role in the elaboration of the plot. In the beginning,
she starts off in a healthy state of mind, in love with her boyfriend Hamlet,
yet controlled by her father in regard to their relationship. During the play
she encounters several troubling experiences involving Hamlet which cause her to
become distressed. Near the end, the death of her father leaves Ophelia mentally
unstable and in a state of madness that eventually leads her to death. So, due
to all of the unfortunate events that took place with the people she loved the
most in her life, Ophelia gradually becomes mad, and in the end passes away.
Ophelias and Hamlets love for each other in the beginning was very real.
Following the death of his father Hamlet falls in love with her, and is much
attracted by her beauty. It is not uncertain, however, that Ophelia is very much
controlled by her father. She is the daughter of Polonius, the chief advisor to
the new King Claudius, and a highly respected man. Her father demands that she
tell Hamlet at once that she can no longer be with him and tells her "I
would not, in plain terms, from this time forth have you so slander any moment
leisure as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look tot, I charge
you. Come your ways." (I.iii.132-35). It is clear that here Polonius is
making decisions for his daughter, regardless if she really loves Hamlet or not.
She feels very unimportant and helpless now, and because of this develops a lack
of emotional confidence and strength. All she can reply is "I do not, my
lord, what I should think." (I.iii.104). She is used to relying on her
fathers direction and has been brought up to be very obedient. As well, her
brother Laertes agrees with what their father is saying. He also tells Ophelia
that Hamlet is no good for her "Perhaps he loves you not" (I.iii.16).
He thinks that Hamlet only loves her because he wants to seduce her, and demands
his sister to never see him again. Ophelia can only accept her father and
brothers beliefs and writes Hamlet a letter which informs him that she can no
longer see him. As a result, she begins to feel alone with very little
independence. At this point in the play Ophelias emotions are what help
contribute to her madness. There are a few other incidents in the play which
help in the course of Ophelias madness. When Hamlet receives the letter from
Ophelia he is affected terribly by her words. The next time she sees Hamlet she
is surprised and even a bit frightened by his behavior. He did not look like he
usually does, and he acted very strange towards her. He held her by the wrists
and stared deeply into her face, long and hard, then storms out, leaving her
intensely troubled and saddened. After that she tells her father, and he
believes that Ophelias love is what made him mad. "That hath made him
mad" (II. i.110). Polonius then goes to tell the King and Queen of
Hamlets strange behavior and plans to spy on Hamlet to prove hes gone mad.
Ophelia now is left feeling guilty. When she sees Hamlet later on she tries to
speak with him, but is rejected coldly. He does not listen to her and screams
harsh words leaving her feeling worthless and embarrassed. "I loved you
not." (III.i.119). "Get thee to a nunnery." (III.i.121) "
you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname Gods creatures, and make you
wantonnes your ignorance. Go to, Ill no more ont;" (III.i.146-48)
This incident causes Ophelia to become slightly disturbed. She sits weeping
while her father and the King practically step on her weak body to find out more
reason for Hamlets actions. In this depressed state all she can say is
"O! woe is me, to have seen what I have seen, what I see!"
(III.i.163-64) So, because of Hamlets rudeness and rejection through this
part of the play, Ophelia is driven even more closer to insanity. Perhaps the
biggest cause of Ophelias madness was the death of her father. The news of
Polonius death was just enough to throw her over the edge of insanity.
Whats worse, she finds out that her dearest father was murdered by the one
she loves, Hamlet. Ophelia now goes completely mad and has lost ... more
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Marisol By Rivera
Marisol, a play written by Jose Rivera, is the play I enjoyed reading the most
this semester. Rivera, one of the leading contemporary Latin American
playwrights, writes with an image. After reading Marisol, I came away with a
very specific picture of what Rivera had in mind. He easily combines the
realistic moments of life, the dangers of the Bronx, dealing with an emotionally
unstable young man, Lenny, and the friendships developed with those we work
with, with his world on the verge of apocalypse where the mundanities of life we
take for granted have changed. Marisol has elements of pure theology where
Rivera's own possible musings are written in to his characters. These elements
include the appearance of Marisol's guardian angel in Marisol's dreams, the
threat to Marisol's life in the form of a woman turned to a pile of salt and the
smoke from a fire in Ohio blocking the sun in New York City. These all occur in
the first act before the War of the Heavens begins. This play was written in the
early nineties, copyright 1992, 1994, and revised and copyrighted 1999. Rivera
was very specific in his stage directions and overall views of the design and
production of the play in order to facilitate his image. These stage directions
and other designs should be followed by the people producing his play in order
to produce the image the play means to impart to the audience. He poises a gold
crown, suspended in the air over the set, over the actors, over all of his
creation, signifying God. But this crown, this God, remains motionless, remains
detached from all the proceedings. To support his unnervingly imminently
apocalyptic world, the mundanities that we would take for granted that are
missing from Marisol's world, like the moon and the extinction of coffee, are
dropped to the audience in a conversation between June, a co-worker and
Marisol's best friend, and Marisol at work(Rivera 22-23). To accomplish the
subtlety of unnerving the audience, Rivera gives a perfect office building; two
desks, a radio, books, papers, the New York Post (Rivera 20) contrasting
perfectly with the utter absurdity of facts pouring out of their mouths. This
show should be done in a small theatre, and for design explanations, I will use
the Studio Theatre at Towson University. This will allow the action to be
closest to the audience, including them in the show. The set would consist of
three brick walls painted directly onto the walls of the theatre. The wall
behind the center rows of seats would remain black due to seat proximity. The
back wall of the staging area (backing the scene shop) would be painted to the
rafters , leaving the balcony itself black but the wall behind the upper balcony
painted. The wall would have faux windows with iron gates on them running
horizontally at about four feet above the floor. The two side walls would also
have brick running up above the balcony. The two side walls would be completely
masked by a black dropcloth for the first act. There would be two wagons used in
Act One, neither bigger than 8 feet (which I am guessing to be the width of the
scene shop door). The graffiti'd poem, "The moon carries the souls of dead
people to heaven./The new moon is dark and empty./It fills up every month/with
glowing new souls/and carries its silent burden to God./Wake Up." (Rivera,
9) will be painted on the scene shop door which will remain closed. All
entrances and exits will be from the four studio doors. The exterior door of the
studio will be Marisol' s apartment door and have a series of locks she will
lock behind her. It will only be used once. There will be a ladder from the
balcony to the floor that the angel will use for her entrances. It will lock
onto the bars for support. On one of the wagons will be June's kitchen, and the
other will be Marisol's apartment, including bed, table, lamp, and clock (Rivera
12). The office will be downstage with the two desks, chairs and props wheeled
in from opposing house doors and meeting in the middle. The gold crown will hang
from the upstage center of the theatre. Act Two will see the removal of the two
wagons to the scene shop during intermission and the removal of the two black
drops from the side brick wall paintings. The addition of various and asundry
trash cans, trash, and ... more
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