Oh Look, It’s Ophelia. Hey, Ophelia.

Twitter user ScottySheldon brought up a new game yesterday – best “intro” in Shakespeare.  At first I thought he meant “best opening lines” which has been done to death. But that’s not what he meant.

What he meant was, a character enters, and some other characters says “Oh, hey Ophelia.”  Well, technically, someone says something like “Oh look here comes Ophelia” and then Ophelia enters.

That, I don’t think I’ve seen before.  All the plays are ripe for the picking — any character, any play, how is that character introduced?  Lots to choose from.

Off the top of my head I think I might point to “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” as an introduction for Macbeth’s entrance. I like it so much that I once did a whole post about just that one line.  The way it introduces Macbeth, a human being, as “something”?  Not someone – some *thing*.  Something inhuman.

Should we count Orsino’s “If music be the food of love…” line?  It’s not like he’s technically introducing himself, but as far as the language of the stage goes, this is certainly his introduction to the audience.  You immediately know what sort of character he is when he starts out like that.

9 thoughts on “Oh Look, It’s Ophelia. Hey, Ophelia.

  1. I like Brutus's, "But here comes Antony. Welcome, Mark Antony." in 3.2 of Caesar, precisely because it's so pedestrian and so utterly unfitting the situation. I mean, he's standing there, over the corpse of Caesar, covered in blood, and Brutus is basically like, "Oh, hey, what's up?"

  2. "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!"

  3. I'm a big fan of Richard's establishing character moment in Henry VI, Part 3. He appears in the first scene, holding the severed head of the Duke of Somerset. Throwing down the head at his father's feet, he says "Speak thou for me and tell them what I did." York, Richard's father, responds with the approving words, "Richard hath best deserved of all my sons."

  4. Wayne Myers says:

    In the first scene of "Romeo and Juliet," two Capulet servants are trying to muster the courage to instigate a fight with two Montague servants, when Gregory, of the Capulets, says, "Say 'better," here comes one of my master's kinsman." That's Tybalt, of course, and soon a full-scale brawl is underway!

  5. I think that the dream is great for this – especially II.i. Puck's opener, "how now spirit, whither wander you?" is a fairly awesome way of telling us that a) we're dealing with fairies, and that b) the speaker is something of a lad. Also, although this might not count (as Puck and 1st fairy have kinda told us they were coming) the pithy little Oberon/ Titania bit always brings a smile.

  6. The opening scene of Hamlet and the arrival of the ghost

    Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!

    In the same figure, like the king that's dead.

  7. 'Dive thoughts, down to my soul: here Clarence comes.'

    Poor Clarence.

  8. Yes! So I'm not the only one who noticed the weird Ophelia entrances thing. Practically since the first rehearsal I've been thinking, 'My, these entrance cues are so easy!'

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