Presented at the Fall 2001 Popular / American Culture Association of the South, Atlantic Beach, Florida, this paper examines several depictions of Ophelia in films of Hamlet starring Kenneth Branagh, Ethan Hawke, Mel Gibson, Kevin Kline, Derek Jacobi, Richard Burton, Campbell Scott. The title hints at Mary Pipher's Re-Claiming Ophelia, in light of then widely circulating Julia Stiles interpretation, where we repeatedly see her contemplating her suicide by drowning. My study elevates the Ophelia of LisaGay Hamilton in the Campbell Scott Hamlet, released the same year. The presentation featured video clips from this Campbell Scott production, originally airing on Odyssey. Some features of the play that this study places in focus include what drives Ophelia mad: Is it her father's harsh command to see no more of Hamlet, Hamlet's mistreatment of her, or her grief at his death? How exactly is the madness played or depicted and how do the other characters, especially Laertes and Gertrude respond. While other film adaptations have since been released, this paper serves as grounding for considerations of a relatively small and circumscribed role into a cultural anchor that magnifies her presence in the play.
Gates, Joanne E. "Re-Drowning Ophelia: The Representation of Female Disintegration in Recent Films of Hamlet." Presentation for Popular/ American Culture of the South Conference, October 2001 (Atlantic Beach, Florida). Revised with added notes and references, 2021. JSU Library Digital Commons.