Feminist Role Of Ophelia

Decent Essays
William Shakespeare’s 16th century The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark portrays the patriarchal society of Western culture through the anti-feminist roles of the two women characters, especially the character of Ophelia. Ophelia serves as a rather minor character created to catalyze the plot centered around the male characters. The play depicts Ophelia as a sexual object, a piece of property, and essentially as a mere victim of her male counterparts. Ophelia’s dependence on men as a character leads to her demise and displays the tragic effects of the male characters’ revenge driven actions. Shakespeare forewarns the mortal consequences that follow the agony of difficult decisions through the fate of the innocent Ophelia. The play unsurprisingly introduces Ophelia through a scene with her brother Laertes in the start of Act I, Scene III. Before departing for Paris, Laertes warns that Hamlet’s love is “Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, the perfume and suppliance of a minute, no more” and that he cannot commit to Ophelia for he truly belongs to the nation (1.3.8-11). Afterwards, her father Polonius orders her to stop seeing Hamlet, and she complies despite her unhappiness to let go of a man she genuinely cares for. This act displays controlling behavior that seals Ophelia’s fate. Polonius becomes convinced that his order led to Hamlet’s insanity and leads him to meddle in Hamlet’s business before being killed by Hamlet. Subsequently, Ophelia is driven mad and
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