Was Ophelia Pregnant? and the Archetype of Secrets

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9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Donna Childs' Home

$35 members
$35 students

As more women are coming forward and beginning to be open about experiences of sexual harassment and how power is intimidating, Ophelia becomes ever more relevant. In Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ she is surrounded by powerful people: Hamlet, her brother Laertes, her father Polonius, King Claudius, and Queen Gertrude. One of my friends who has directed productions of ‘Hamlet’ told me that her role is often considered one of, maybe the most difficult of women’s roles in Shakespeare’s plays. She can be portrayed as an innocent, a virgin, not a virgin, a harlot, a victim or primarily a young woman who becomes psychotic because of stress and loss.

In the workshop I’m planning a combination of formal presentation and discussion. We’ll learn more about Ophelia and clues in the play about her sexuality, responses to power, and what her secrets might have been. Her psychotic ramblings offer opportunities to explore symbols and how they reveal deeper meanings.

As we think about secrets, we realize our lives are filled with secrets, ours and others, whether they are personal or have to do with investigations of Russian interference in our elections, Harvey Weinstein’s exploitation of aspiring young actresses, or the surprises when we learn family secrets. We do our best to live in this strange world of unknowns. Ultimately, ‘secrets’ could take us to the deepest, most philosophical questions which no-one can answer, but this is not part of the workshop. We can, nevertheless, think together about how secrets give meaning to our lives.

The seminar will be limited to 15 women and will meet at the home of Donna Childs in Fairway, Kansas. Participants are invited to bring a brown bag lunch. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

Donna Childs, MD, completed her analytic training with the Inter Regional Society of Jungian Analysts and practices Jungian analysis and psychiatry in Prairie Village, Kansas. Previous presentations for the Kansas City Friends of Jung included topics that focused on the psychology of women and archetypes.

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