Posted on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019 by Hoai-Tran Bui
Ophelia is one of the most maligned characters in literary history. It’s not entirely her fault — the tragic heroine of Hamlet suffers from being not much of a heroine, but rather a cipher for the purity and virtue of women and all that will befall them when that innocence is corrupted by the world. She’s best known for her descent into madness, culminating in a suicide whose tragic beauty has been enshrined in many an oil painting. But Australian filmmaker Claire McCarthy’s (The Turning, The Waiting City) upcoming Shakespeare retelling Ophelia asks, what if Ophelia was more? More active, more assured, more than just a laundry list of perfect virtues.
Ophelia is a revisionist retelling of Hamlet that imagines the classic Shakespeare tragedy from the point of view of the doomed heroine. But McCarthy wanted to do more than simply depict a straightforward adaptation of Hamlet based only on Ophelia’s brief interactions with the story.