Book Angel Emma's Reviews > Ophelia

Ophelia by Lisa M. Klein
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Aug 28, 12

bookshelves: classics-carnival
Read from July 04 to 13, 2012

Seriously wanted to hit Hamlet & Ophelia over the head.
Follows original plot well with additional twist at end.
Not really sure I liked Ophelia very much

I have to start by telling you that I absolutely hate the story of Hamlet, hate with a capital H. Want to know why? Everyone dies, there are no redeeming qualities at all *sigh*. I had high hopes that this book would change my mind. Unfortunately, it didn’t for the most part I wanted to hit Hamlet and Ophelia over the head. I think that the fact Ophelia actually follows the original plot exactly alongside the historical setting it did nothing to alter my perception of the story as a whole. Therefore, I really struggled with this book.

The prologue is a stroke of genius, gripping you immediately, recapping the basics of the Shakespearean tale while setting the ‘stage’ for Ophelia’s narrative. Initially our sympathises are with Ophelia, living in a time where women are second class citizens held to the bidding of either their fathers or husbands.

Ophelia’s father is portrayed as being completely consumed with his own self importance, his social standing is everything to him and he will do anything to keep it, even selling out his own daughter. This goes a long way to understanding some of Ophelia’s motivation as she craves emotional support that has been lacking throughout her life. She thrives on praise and constantly seeks approval. It is easy to understand her draw to Hamlet for this reason alone; however, I did feel that she did in some ways seek the social benefits of being with Hamlet. Even thought the relationship is a secret, you can see that at the back of Ophelia’s mind the union equalled her security and social standing. There is definitely something calculated about Ophelia in this story.

The underlying theme that power and greed corrupt is very well dealt with in all its forms. I really liked the character interpretation of Gertrude, her craving romance novels and being a bit wanton, lol. There is still speculation as to her role in the murder of the King but the insight into her marriage to Claudius proved an element of understanding to the plot.

Ophelia’s forward thinking was sometimes at odds with the historical setting and the religious aspect was irritating to say the least. Although I did enjoy Ophelia’s herbalist abilities and the way in which she genuinely wanted to help people.

Although I enjoyed the outcome of this re-imagining I couldn’t help feeling that it was a little predictable.

I am glad I read Ophelia as a basis for the Hamlet tale but it isn’t one I would recommend as a means to relating to the story or characters apart from Gertrude lol.
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