Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major reminds me a lot of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Here’s what I imagined while listening to the music:
We open with the innocent and happy Ophelia. She has some doubts about something (Claudius’s plots? Hamlet’s love?), but it doesn’t mar her overall joy.
But then: Uh oh…Hamlet’s father has died, so now she’s sad and despairing. She tries to convince herself that everything is okay, but feels a vague sense of suspicion and sympathizes with Hamlet.
After the music’s pause, she is happy and calm again as she tries to bring Hamlet out of his despair. At first he seems to be coming around, which makes her very happy! But then he appears to lose heart and become more introverted while also more outwardly antagonistic. This behavior worries her…she keeps trying to cheer him up by being bubbly around him, but what she doesn’t understand is that her cheerful attitude makes him think that she doesn’t care about what happened. Unfortunately, she remains happy in her conviction that she is helping the man she loves.
So I’ve taken some liberties imagining what might have transpired between Ophelia and Hamlet. Do you think of Ophelia in a similar way, or do you think she’s less innocent than what I’ve described and what the music sounds like?
You can also check out more Classical Music Stories for books like Peter Pan, Jane Eyre, and Romeo and Juliet here.