Get help from the best in academic writing.

Elaine Showalter’s Representing Ophelia

Elaine Showalter’s Representing Ophelia

Elaine Showalter defines Ophelia in many typical ways in her essay “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” She discusses her significance in reference to how she reveals Hamlet’s characteristics. Showalter touches upon the idea that Ophelia’s character is one that is symbolic of the psychiatric theories of Freud. Showalter also attributes the characterization of Ophelia to not only the audience, but also to the actress that plays the part. Never does she suggest that Ophelia could be just that, “Ophelia.” Her entire article is devoted to individual interpretation of the play in its entirety, focusing primarily on Ophelia. Showalter presents her own ideas by bringing together the ideas of many others such as Jacques Lacan, Susan Mountfort, Ellen Terry, and more. Showalter provides suffice evidence in addressing each argument, but in doing so, she never takes into account the possibilities of Shakespeare’s reasoning.

In the discussion of Ophelia’s character, her madness is almost always at the center of controversy. Showalter recognizes and explains many interpretations of her madness. Ophelia’s madness is, by some, attributed to “a predictable outcome of erotomania” (225). This term “erotomania” was what the Elizabethans referred to as “female love-melancholy.” Yet another interpretation is that of the “Romantic Ophelia,” in which she is referred to as “a young girl passionately and visibly driven to picturesque madness” (228). Later, it is explained what is meant by this definition when Showalter writes about how people viewed Ophelia as a woman who “felt” too much and somehow allowed these feelings to overcome her. This type of action would drive a person to madness, just as Ophelia is driven into her madness. This conclusion would seem to suggest that her madness stemmed from some sort of erotic passion between herself and Hamlet. This is the type of interpretation that is given to the audience in many movie versioesult of erotomania. Elaine Showalter creates an argument that is predominantly based on the idea that Ophelia’s madness is one that comes from her “female love-melancholy.”

Showalter cites many actresses, critics, doctors, and such that completely support this idea, and have actually expressed this idea to others in many ways. If it is not true that Hamlet and Ophelia had sexual encounters, then this interpretation of the character and its effect on the entire play can be understood on a completely different level.

Truth and Nature

Truth and Nature

As I read more of Nietzsche and Loa Tzu, there is an increasing similarity between the basic structures of both philosophical hypotheses than there is difference. Though the outcomes differ, and even the rational of both men’s thought process are plotted differently, and suggest drastically different ideal lifestyles, both works, the Tao Te Ching and the Will to Power argue for first an acceptance of an immoral world, a world with no true good nor evil, nor up nor down, but rather just man as he is and nature, connected to man, just the way it is.

Originally its thought that human nature dictates a nature of man, a habit of man’s control, whereas others side with thoughts that man patterns after nature, and that nature controls both man and material. As said earlier, both theorists execute their theories differently although here the similarity paradoxically arrives by contrast. Will to Power explains man’s tendency to act in accordance to desire and, “(putting it most mildly), exploitation,” as ways of human nature. The nature belongs to man. Man becomes the creator of his own self-image; he aims to become the “creator of values,” among his subjects, and thus takes nature into his own control. He thus becomes powerful through the control of others. Power, wisdom, strength, the essence of living here is established through conquest.

Now power, (though to even state such definite assertions is clearly defiant of Lao Tzu’s attempts to explain the detriment of definition) is gained, or accepted by quietism, and meekness looked down on by the Will to Power. Power, or true strength and nobility is understood through the Tao as achieved by inaction, or flow (e.g. Tao’s illusion to water), and not Niet…

… middle of paper …

…f religion, in particular Christianity (as it promoted the weak slave mentality and introduced the difference of evil and good verses bad and good). In fact Nietzche is famous for saying that God is dead and the Tao famous for being unaware of any single deity.

The holes and accidents of living, the unpredictable emotional inconsistency of living isn’t explained simply through power and best interest alone, instead let us take accidents and mistakes as the foundation of living. Not all things follow power, nor does power the end needs of human ambition obtain complete happiness, but rather promotes the impossible. Something must be said for pity, for the sight of someone in pain that condemns both concepts. Neither weakness nor passivity, nor the understanding of nature would do in describing our actions when faced with starvation, the holocaust, or dying.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.