When I was nineteen, I made an astonishing discovery that was going to revolutionize the field of Shakespeare scholarship: Ophelia is the unsung hero of Hamlet. I was so certain that I understood Ophelia better than anyone else who had written about her in the last 400 years that I wrote a purely elective research paper about my theory. It wasn’t for a class; I didn’t even get extra credit. All I got was ten hours of being crammed into a van next to the dean of the Honors College on a trip to Whitewater, Wisconsin, so I could spread the good news about Ophelia to five bored and sleepy strangers during a Sunday morning presentation at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.
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