Ophelia is one of the prominent characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She was in love with Hamlet who was heir to the throne of Denmark, and in certain situations Hamlet reciprocated. Nonetheless, Ophelia’s father and brother warned her to stay away of Hamlet in order to guard her childlike innocence. Eventually, Hamlet takes Ophelia’s virginity and kills her father, leading her to take her own life despite the fact her family claims she “fell off of a willow branch”. Her death is considered one of the most poetic in play history as even though the entirety of her life was dictated by the men around her, her own suicide was her one chance to have a say in her own life, even though it meant ending it.
Some critics say that Ophelia was a innocent girl, taken advantage of by those around her, but fail to take into account situations in the play where she displayed cleverness and wits. On the other hand, some consider her a conniving harlot, only taking into account her cleverness but neglecting the many times she was naive and innocent. In either interpretation, the audience is dictating who Ophelia is to them, just as the men in the play did.
In the end, Ophelia will forever remain one of the most tragic and neutral character of plays, doomed to never find love and forever controlled by others, an amazing symbolization of femininity.
The song Ophelia by The Lumineers states very well “Heaven help a fool who falls in love”.
I think we should be grateful that most of us have made it to 2021, completely changed, with our loss, insights, and will to keep moving forward no matter what. It wasn’t easy but we did it. So good job back there hanging on to the loose threads and not giving up. And even though we want everything to get back to normal it’s not that time yet. There’s nothing we can do about it then to get through it one day at a time. I am aware it’s easier said than done. And if that’s not enough it somehow feels that this pressure around us comes along every new year to change ourselves, or maybe at least resolve to change ourselves.
That’s the whole new year shenanigans, isn’t it? We look inwards and see what a mess we are, and dream about being a perfect hypothetical self, we do want to be that in real life. And whats the best time to try to change every aspect of ourselves other than a new year? Am I right! Most of us didn’t even try coming up with a resolution this year witnessing what went down last year. Why bother anyway, we are all gonna die! Excuse my nihilist existential crisis, it’s hard to keep it inside all the time. So getting back to resolutions, what’s the point? We try hard few days, fail miserably, or a pandemic slips in, things get worse, and we are back to our miserable self. Why even waste our precious time, right?
Well, yeah but there has to be a better way to grow, make progress, keep negativity at bay, and reduce the amount of failure- It’s setting intentions. Resolution is just a vague statement you make which brings out anxiety, fear of failure, negative thoughts, etc. and we end up feeling like a loser. On the other hand, intentions help us to understand why we want to make a change, it comes a from an abundant place, and doesn’t necessarily mean there is something wrong with us or the way we are living. Resolution is an end goal where we think that we’ll be happy only if we reach that goal, conversely, intentions help us to enjoy the process, and be committed to it even after the said goal has been achieved. The clearer our intention the chances are the more we will be able to follow it.
My intention this year is simple and very effective- Be present. I struggle a lot when it comes to being present and not in my head. I’m either embarrassing myself with past or worrying about my future. To be here in the now is something I never learnt or never knew how to do. Coincidentally, at the start of this new year, I watched a movie, a documentary, and a series that has not only helped me to understand how to be mindful, but I am sure will bring immense joy and satisfaction in my life.
Headspace Guide to Meditation
A series/podcast about how and why you need meditation in your life. All the animations are wonderful, colourful, and extremely meaningful. Who knew there is a meditation technique for everything, stress, pain, loneliness, letting go, anger, creativity, etc. Meditation is the best way to be mindful and be aware of our present.
TheMinimalists: Less is Now
I’ve been following minimalism for years now. I started it only to save some money, and have a clutter-free life. These two documentaries Minimalism and Minimalists showed me how it is so much more than that. All our lives we think if we earn 7 figures, have a huge mansion with a swimming pool, own every Tesla, then we’ll be happy. If it was so I’m pretty sure all the wealthy and successful people would be the happiest people on our planet. Its a lie we are fed all our lives. This documentary helped me to understand and narrow down the things that really matter to me and get rid of all the rest.
Soul by Pixar
The message that ‘your spark isn’t your purpose in life; it is what makes you want to live’ was one that hit me right in the existential gut. You can be perfectly fulfilled by simply enjoying the beauty of life and that’s exactly what I needed to hear. It’s so weird that an animated movie has helped me quiet my existential crisis more than any philosophy/moral books.
Your intention might be completely different than mine, but I recommend you try watching these things. If nothing, you’ll gain a completely new perspective on how to go about your life. And for me, I’m pretty excited with my intention this year- to be here in the now. I will be reading more books, taking pictures, painting some flowers, meditating, watching good movies, going for long walks, and be there with people I love. Isn’t it all so wonderful than the age-old resolution to just lose weight?
If there’s one thing that Pandemic has made people realise is that how much they need to get married ASAP. Almost every other person I know is getting married or have been married for a month or so. It’s all so exciting seeing everyone around me in so much love and, also, devastating for people like me who have been forever single. Attending any wedding is not only tiresome, for an introvert like me, but it also makes everyone question me about my singlehood, worrying about my biological clock ticking away, and lack of men available at old age. As they see it I need to find a man immediately, or else I’ll never be truly happy in life. Even though I try to smile it away without stating my reasons they end up deciding that I am, obviously, very headstrong, choosy, and proud, which, I’m not gonna lie, I am.
I knew that reading a romantic classic at such a time would only make my disposition worse (Thanks to Mr Darcy) but I needed to indulge in this pity party as no one else would. I always turn towards Romcoms whenever I’m extremely sad over my love life, not to fantasize but many times to understand, what it takes to love someone, to be with them, and what mistakes I’ve been making in my life, and how nowhere I will be with my limiting beliefs. And I always end up learning something or the other. And this book didn’t fail at all.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”
This opening line will go down in history as one of the best opening line in English literature. Jane Austen introduces so many types of marriage throughout the book and the reason why people go ahead with them. And a lot of it is still applicable in today’s world. I’ve met many women, who marry just for the sake of security or worst- marrying, I’ve known several acquaintances, who get married so rashly and end up, well, not at all happy. I’ve also seen very very closely marriages similar to Elizabeth’s parent, where they are of no match to each other and yet carry on with their lives not living but bearing each other. And then there are people like Elizabeth (and I), who do not indulge, rather stay on sidelines and observe everyone and everything from a distance and only hope that this won’t be what we end up with.
Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular, classical romantic novels of all time, and Elizabeth Bennett is, no-doubt, one of the most celebrated, flawed, boldest female character in the history of literature. I think every independent woman can relate to her one way or the another and I am not an exception here. Her gracefully standing up for herself, her fearless critical observations towards others and good wit, and not scared to say the way it is, is what makes her so different than what we are accustomed to watching women on screen. Her ability to make mistakes, stubbornness, her being blinded by pride and prejudice, and then learning from all this to be a better person, only makes her one of the most realistic representations of female characters in pop culture. What I loved the most about her was the way she didn’t care about class, wealth, security, but only cared about how the person standing in-front of her treats people beneath them. It takes a huge deal of courage to be who you are, reject every idea/men society has fed you to be suitable for you, and keep your values intact, even if it is a time when women are not allowed to vote.
All the Romcoms I’ve seen fade away when compared to the characters, plot, dialogues Jane Austen has brilliantly written. Her use of irony, wit and humour is what makes this book a classic. Her commentary on marriage, money and society, is so intertwined and profound that it makes you understand how and why some women act the way they do. And it’s still very much, sad and disappointing to say the least that things are still the same as they were in the 18th century, for many women around me.
So what I learned from reading this romantic novel you ask? It’s this- We all think love is what makes us blind, but our pride and prejudices makes us more blind than we can imagine. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s just not your time yet. The person meant for you can be right there beside you but many times you need to go through several self-discovery phases and reject every Mr Collins in your way without being afraid of left alone. Be unapologetically yourself and everything else will follow. Furthermore, marriage isn’t about security, lust, peace or society but it’s about accepting and loving a person just the way he/she is, with all of their strengths and weaknesses. And before you accept and know that person it’s equally crucial that you do the same for yourself.