How has the performance of Ophelia changed in the course of time? This question has prompted a research which in these pages brings into focus emblematic turning points in the staging of Shakespeare’s character. Actresses’ images, memoirs, interviews and other sources throw new light on the creative process that leaves behind the poetic and pictorial myth of the nineteenth century, and takes Ophelia back into the heart of the tragedy, giving her a new dramatic identity. No longer confined to a space aside, free from a censorship that for centuries has cut her lines and bridled the truth of her madness, helped by innovative directors, our contemporary Ophelias have not only reinvented their performance score, but contributed to modify the monocentric vision of Hamlet, and reveal its polyphonic composition.
Keywords: Actresses, Hamlet, Iconography, Ophelia, Performance, Shakespeare.