Excerpt“The play is based upon Hamlet's hesitation in accomplishing the task of revenge assigned to him; the text does not give the cause or the motive of this hesitation, nor have the manifold attempts at interpretation succeeded in doing so.According to the still prevailing conception […] Hamlet represents the type of man whose active energy is paralyzed by excessive intellectual activity […] The plot of the drama, however, shows us that Hamlet is by no means intended to appear as a character wholly incapable of action.Those familiar with the original Hamlet will most appreciate Fiedler's imaginative approach, as she pays homage to the Bard with clever cribbing and her own twist on Shakespearean language.
Hamlet's moodiness and irascibility suddenly seemed deeply connected to the fact that his father has just died, and he doesn't know how to handle it.
The author adds a scene in which the two consummate their love, and also lays the groundwork for Ophelia's mad speech about flowers in Act IV, Scene V of the original play.
Fiedler takes other liberties: chief among them, Ophelia only fakes her death, calling suicide "a cowardly act"; and also fashions a servant/confidante and new lineage for Ophelia (here her true father is a grave-digger).
And when Hamlet sets out to prove his uncle's guilt, feigning madness and staging a play that mimics the murder, Ophelia helps him; together they compose the letter, "proving" his madness (addressed to "beautified Ophelia"), incorporating here, as in other scenes, Shakespeare's original language.
Fiedler also intermittently offers insight into several of Shakespeare's double entendres (e.g., when Hamlet, acting mad, asks Ophelia whether she is "honest"-virtuous as well as truthful).