Ophelia's Well Discovered in Stratford?

News   Ophelia's Well Discovered in Stratford?

It seems that archaeologists have been able to explore a disused well that is believed to have been a factor in Shakespeare's plot for Hamlet.

Ophelia, driven mad after Hamlet has killed her father, Polonius (mistakenly thinking him to have been his uncle, Claudius), drowns herself in the tragedy. Hamlet was written not long after the well, in Stratford on Avon, was the scene of a local tragedy when a young gentlewoman, jilted by a lover, drowned herself there.

Although this may indeed have given Shakespeare an idea, Ophelia's suicide in Hamlet was for a very different reason from that of the deserted girl. Ophelia's madness is a combination of grief at her father's death and guilt that her acceptance of her father's instructions to break off her love affair with the Prince drove Hamlet mad himself - and accounted for his attack on her father.

—by Paul Webb Theatrenow