Acta Amazonica 6(1) - Suplemento : Revisão taxonômica do by Marlene Freitas da Silva

By Marlene Freitas da Silva

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Regarding Ophelia as a speaking person encourages scrutiny of her own motives in this scene. Because Ophelia is a player in the action she describes, being made the "most deject and wretched" of Page 14 ladies by Hamlet's antics, her portrait of Hamlet is not a disinterested mirror of his past glory and present degradation. Ophelia contrasts Hamlet's reason with madness by comparing sweet with harsh jangling bells. The same metaphor expresses her own loss, since she is personified as the bee who sucked the "honey music" of Hamlet's vows: Hamlet's status as a "ruined bud" comes from the perspective of the bee denied honey.

Bradley, Ophelia is an inexperienced child; to J. M. Nosworthy and Harold Jenkins, she is the image of Jephtha's daughter, unjustly condemned to a virgin's death. All three interpretations stress Ophelia's arrested development. ''Hamlet critics," by contrast, adopt Hamlet's own moral revulsion against women. 6 As a person responsible for her own fate, therefore, Ophelia is judged and found lacking. Interestingly, the most complex assessments of Ophelia's character emerge from iconographic readings that recognize in her the presence of contradictory mythic images.

All three interpretations stress Ophelia's arrested development. ''Hamlet critics," by contrast, adopt Hamlet's own moral revulsion against women. 6 As a person responsible for her own fate, therefore, Ophelia is judged and found lacking. Interestingly, the most complex assessments of Ophelia's character emerge from iconographic readings that recognize in her the presence of contradictory mythic images. She is both Virgin and repentant Magdalene. Even in her role as Magdalene, she stands both for spiritual succor and for dangerous sexuality.

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