Monday, December 7, 2015

Ophelia: new perspective on the tragedy of Hamlet

Ophelia by Lisa Klein tells the story of Hamlet and the events of the Danish court from the perspective of Ophelia. Anyone familiar with Shakespeare’s play knows that Ophelia commits suicide in Act IV but what if her death was really was an escape. What if Ophelia survives and tells the tragic tale of Prince Hamlet.

The story opens as a young Ophelia moves to the castle when her father, Polonius, is employed by King Hamlet. She soon becomes a part of Queen Gertrude’s court as a lady-in-waiting. There she becomes a favorite of the queen as she reads love stories to the queen. At the age of 15, she has grown into a beautiful woman and has caught the eye of the handsome Prince Hamlet. They soon fall in love and secretly meet with his friend, Horatio, as their lookout. Hamlet soon leaves for school when tragedy strikes, the king is dead. The events that occurs in the play unfold. Ophelia begins to fear for her life. So with the help of Horatio, Ophelia is able to fake her death and escape to an abbey in France. She soon discovers that she holds the key to the future of the Danish court. Will she ever be able to return home? Or will she be forced to live in hiding for the rest of her life?

I found this book many years ago when browsing in a bookstore. Since I love Shakespeare, I was intrigued at the concept that Ophelia survives and we hear the story of Hamlet from her perspective. I loved it then and I love it more now that I've read it again. Since the play tells the story about the death of King Hamlet, this book is a great imagination of the romantic relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet before he goes mad with revenge. The book is categorized at a Young Adult; however, I highly recommend it to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are familiar with Shakespeare’s play or not, you will enjoy this story.