Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus.

There are so many times wherein a woman’s wits and persuasion are not nearly as moving as she would like. Here’s Ophelia. If she tried to explain her position rationally, if she asked for support, if she attempted to persuade – anyone to anything – I suspect she would not be successful. Ophelia can only persuade with her body – once her will has been trampled. And then, of course, she’s not persuading anyone of anything she wants. She’s just become a symbol…a trigger on the gun.
I can’t help feeling that if a character like Ophelia had learned to use her wits – to become a little more like Beatrice or Imogen or even Lady Macbeth, she wouldn’t end up dead. It’s almost as though, because she had no persuasive power as a conscious creature, she becomes more of a projection machine. It becomes more possible for Laertes to read what he wants to read in her. I think it would be incredibly unlikely that Ophelia would use her wits to plead for revenge. I don’t think that is what she’d use them for.

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