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Hamlet – William Shakespeare

NOISE WITHIN: “LET HER COME IN!”

LAERTES

How now? What noise is that?

ENTER OPHELIA

O heat, dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt,

Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!

By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,

Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May,

Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!

O heavens, is ’t possible a young maid’s wits

Should be as mortal as an old man’s life?

Nature is fine in love, and where ’tis fine,

It sends some precious instance of itself

After the thing it loves.

OPEHLIA

(sings)

They bore him barefaced on the bier,

  Hey, non nonny, nonny, hey, nonny,

 And in his grave rained many a tear.

Fare you well, my dove.

LAERTES

Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,

It could not move thus.

OPHELIA

You must sing A-down a-down—And you, Call him a- down-a—Oh, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward that stole his master’s daughter.

LAERTES

This nothing’s more than matter.

OPHELIA

There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts.

 

Shakespeare is known to have recurring themes and motifs paramount throughout his plays and for Hamlet its, madness and sanity, revenge, deception, decay and corruption, and passion and reason. The character Ophelia exhibits many of these themes throughout the narrative, but in the end, it is a madness, driven by a need for revenge and loss of love that leads her to her death. Shakespeare writes in Act IV, Scene v: “There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes, As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indued Unto that element; but long it could not be, Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.” In the scene displayed above, whereby Ophelia is having a psychotic break and giving away different flowers to symbolise different things, she states that rosemary is “for remembrance Pray you, love, remember.”, showing the pure strength and power that these flowers held for Ophelia as she urges Laertes to remember her once she has departed this world as she seeks revenge for her father.

Natasha Perkin

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