Section 7. Some Concluding Thoughts on Ophelia and Web 2.0
The fragmentation of Ophelia's image, the teasing depictions of her absence, and the appropriations and re-workings of the Ophelia icon are decidedly post-modernist in their attempts to undo a cultural given and its domination. However, the great mass of versions of Ophelia uploaded to Web 2.0 sites for sharing and for comment ultimately bears witness not to disintegration but to continuity and to the vitality and continued strength of the ever evolving and richly textured cultural presence of Shakespeare and, in this instance, to one of his most evocative character creations. The images and videos discussed above, however obliquely, all engage Shakespeare's Hamlet, the character of Ophelia, and (most particularly) Gertrude's description of her death. The Web 2.0 postings, with their accompanying commentaries and blogs, provide students, teachers, and academics with opportunities to examine Shakespeare's continually evolving and vibrant presence within popular culture. The material discussed here offers evidence of the complex and ongoing ways in which Shakespeare's creations are transformed and transmitted. If treated with something like the same intellectual respect now increasingly given to film and television appropriations, the Web 2.0 images and videos of Ophelia's death will be seen, not as a mere interesting digression away from a Shakespeare-centric world, but as a valid contribution to an already large and ongoing commentary upon Ophelia and upon Gertrude's speech describing her death.