Aug 17, 2022
In today's episode, we are going to be discussing the female characters of Hamlet: Ophelia and Gertrude. We will be tackling some of the more difficult parts of the play for modern readers and theater-makers: the misogyny and seeming lack of female agency.
In the first half, Korey will help us grapple with the seemingly inherent misogyny of the text (is the play misogynist just because the title character is? Or is there another possible reading?).
Then, Elyse will lead us through what an Early Modern audience member would have understood about Ophelia's death and Gertrude's part in it. Specifically we will focus on a cultural knowledge that has largely been lost for the modern audience, and the agency granted to these characters through that understanding.
Content warning: we will be discussing abortion, reproductive health, misogyny, and include brief mentions of assault and violence. Please listen with care.
Shakespeare Anyone? is created and produced by Kourtney Smith and Elyse Sharp.
Note: When this episode was recorded, Kourtney Smith was using the stage name "Korey Leigh Smith".
Music is "Neverending Minute" by Sounds Like Sander.
You can support the podcast at patreon.com/shakespeareanyone
Leong, Elaine. “‘Herbals She Peruseth’: Reading Medicine in Early Modern England.” Renaissance Studies, vol. 28, no. 4, 5 Sept. 2014, pp. 556–578., https://doi.org/10.1111/rest.12079.
Riddle, John M. Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West. Harvard University Press, 1999.