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Morgan Link

Period: 1
Ophelia wanders around the open room. Due to the high ceilings and bare
tiled floors, noise bounces from side to side making the near empty-room seem
crowded. Upon observation there are only six people in the hall sitting at the four
square tables that are spread equidistant from each other. At the far end of the
room is a lone woman in a tattered bathrobe speaking to herself. Although worried
that the woman might be touched by madness, Ophelia decides that she looks kind.
Maybe this stranger can shed some light on this odd place that Ophelia has found
herself in.

On the way to the table, Ophelia wanders why the furniture is so peculiar.
The walls are made of some type of plaster instead of stone. The tables are made
of a metal-like substance instead of wood. While the design of the chairs is
somewhat familiar, they do not look like they do in Elsinore. Upon approaching the
woman, Ophelia announces, Hello, I am Lady Ophelia, daughter of Polonius.

Startled, Blanche Dubois glances up from the pleasant conversation that she
is having with her most entertaining, wealthy, and gentlemanly suitor, Shep
Huntleigh. Seeing a beautiful younger woman, Blanche is less than pleased and
scolds, Miss Ophelia is it? Have you been taught no manners? Young girls do not
interrupt their elders especially when they are entertaining fine suitors.

Shocked, Ophelia responds, My deepest apologies, but I see no young


gentleman with you. Can you tell me who you are and what this strange place is?

Looking quizzically at the young woman, Blanche responds, Why, we are at


Belle Reve, in the mansion that I lived in all of my life. Is it not beautiful? I am
Blanche Dubois. Now, that Mr. Huntleigh has left we can get acquainted and I can
teach you some manners.

Wondering about the strange accent that the older woman has, Ophelia asks,
What do you mean that we are at Belle Reve? I know of no such place near Elsinore
castle. The last thing that I remember is after Hamlet had called me a cuckhold and
then Laertes warned me not to give my heart to Hamlet was falling into that brook.
Now, I am at Belle Reve? Where is that? It seems very strange.

Excitedly, Blanche responds, Oh, you have man trouble. I understand that.
Who is Hamlet?

Ophelia answers, He is the Prince of Denmark, the heir to the throne. You do
not know of Hamlet? Where are you from?

I have told you, I am from Belle Reve. You are very far from Denmark. If
Hamlet is a prince, why have you not married him?

Ophelia responds, He used to tell me how much he loves me. Now, he is just
mean. I do not understand how this happened. I did whatever he said and acted
whatever way he wanted.

Sympathetically, Blanche agrees, I understand. I have always relied on the


kindness of strangers especially men. But after you give them what they want, they
oftentimes turn on you and are very mean. After sitting in my parlor thinking on
this problem for more hours than I can count, I have come to a rather scandalous
revelation. Women need to stop trying to please men and work on doing what we
want. I think that has been my biggest mistake in life, trying to please others.

A woman wearing a white uniform with a funny hat decorated with a red
cross approaches the table and announces, Ms. Dubois and Miss Ophelia, it is time
for your medication. I will take you back to your rooms now.

I decided to write about Ophelia meeting Blanche Dubois from the play A

Streetcar Named Desire because I felt that these characters had many things in

common. They were both women who descended into madness due to their

obedient natures and being spurned by men. Ophelia followed the direction of her

father on who to love and how to act. She also did whatever Hamlet asked her to

do. When Hamlet turned on her and after her father died, she could not cope with

making her own decisions. She did not know what to do and turned to suicide. It is

quite possible that Hamlet and Ophelia engaged in pre-marital sex. If Hamlet would

not marry her, as her brother Laertes warned her, Ophelia would be ruined and

have no future in her society. Similarly, Blanche Dubois descends into madness

after a long history of not fitting into her society and the cruelty/disappointments

that she has had with men in her life. Blanche pictures herself as a southern belle.

However, her lack of money and social status prevents her from attaining that

dream. To please those around her and make herself feel younger and more

desirable, she becomes promiscuous which makes her the exact opposite of what

she pictures herself. When her sisters husband, Stanley, rapes her, the last thread

of sanity breaks. Like Ophelia, she descends into madness. Based on these

similarities, I thought it would be interesting for these two to meet in a mental

hospital to see if they could determine where they went wrong in their lives as their

stories, though centuries apart, were very familiar.