From the beginning of the play, in Act I Scene iii, Laertes and Polonius are trying to convince her that Hamlet does not love her and only is interested in her so he can sleep with her. Laertes says "Perhaps he loves you now, ...... His greatness weighed, his will is not his own." He is telling Ophelia that she is likely to have her heart broken because of Hamlet's high birth. He may not be able to choose who he marries, so although he
In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare, the author, creates female characters that occupy very different roles than in his other plays. In this play, Hamlet plays opposite two women who are used by the men around them in order to further their own interests. One woman is named Ophelia. In many of Shakespeare’s other plays, he creates women that are very strong and play a very real role in the life of the protagonist. In Hamlet, however, Ophelia occupies a very different role-she exemplifies a pawn of the men around her. She is used not only by her father and his associate the King, but also by her supposed lover, Hamlet. This is a very different role for a woman in a Shakespearian play. Also, Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude,
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet can be read as a feminist play given Ophelia’s experiences within the Danish society. Through Ophelia’s interactions with the men of the play, the audience can see that the male-dominated society brings inequality, distrust, and destruction. As Ophelia interacts with her brother, her father, and Hamlet, she is completely unable to assert her own independence, and her lack of personal autonomy eventually drives her to madness. These three men all deny Ophelia’s individuality and desire for self-control because they are accustomed to their male-dominated world. However, once Ophelia is driven to madness, she is regarded as an individual and finally has political and social power. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a feminist play located within a misogynistic culture that Ophelia struggles to escape.
Laertes voices his concern of Hamlet's true intentions towards Ophelia and advises her to be wary of Hamlet's love. Laertes impresses upon Ophelia that Hamlet is a prince who, most likely, will have an arranged marriage. Hamlet's strong love for Ophelia withers after she rejects his affinity. Hamlet's extensive love for Ophelia resulted in grave suffering for Hamlet once his affection was rejected. Hamlet's appearance decays due to the rejection of his love for Ophelia "Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other" (Act 2, Scene 1, line 82). The loss of Ophelia's love for Hamlet causes Polonius to believe it has caused Hamlet to revert to antic disposition. Once Laertes learns of the death of his sister, he is afflicted with sadness. In the same way, Hamlet is shocked and enraged over Ophelia's demise. Both Hamlet and Laertes are so profoundly distressed at the death of Ophelia, they jump into her grave and fight each other.
Denmark is in a state of chaos shown by the opening death of the true
Ophelia is Hamlet’s love interest throughout the entire play. However, in an attempt to be strategic, Hamlet feigns insanity in order to be deceiving and in turn breaks Ophelia's heart. His sudden disinterest towards her coupled with her father Polonius and brother Laertes’ commands to stay away from Hamlet composes a dire internal conflict within Ophelia's mind. She is torn between her undying love for Hamlet versus her desire to be an obedient daughter and sister. In addition, Hamlet unintentionally murders Polonius rather than Claudius, which also adds to Ophelia's insanity. To make matter worse, Ophelia has no mother figure within her life. So taken all together, she is stuck in a constant battle within herself with nobody who is there for her. “I hope all will be well. We must be patient/ but I cannot choose but weep/ to think they would lay him/ i' th' cold ground” (Hamlet v, iv). This quote from Ophelia demonstrates her deep sorrow towards her father's death, as well as the start of her path to insanity. Her lack of a maternal figure leaves her with nobody to discuss her feelings and troubles with. Because of this constant battle within her life, Ophelia finds herself in a confrontation with her emotions, which ends in her official decision of suicide. Which one could argue makes her decisive in the end which may be true, but her internal struggle leading to her choice of suicide is what makes her a great example of a character struggling with uncertainty during times of
Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia suddenly becomes complicated, after Hamlet’s encounter with the Ghost. It all starts when Hamlet first appears in Ophelia’s chamber pale and dishevelled, after receiving news from the Ghost that King Claudius had poured poison into his ear, and it was Hamlet’s duty to avenge the death of his father. Hamlet’s condition frightens Ophelia, as she runs off to tell Polonius about the encounter;” My lord, as I was sewing in my closet/ Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced/… speak of horrors—he comes before me” (2.1 87-94). Hamlet may express that he does not love Ophelia anymore, but his ill treatment towards her comes at the price of testing her loyalties towards him or her father Polonius, who is the eyes and ears of Claudius. As Ophelia runs off to Polonius, it is clear to Hamlet that he cannot trust Ophelia with such a deadly task at his hands. Behind all this phony madness, it breaks Hamlet’s heart to jeopardize his relationship with Ophelia for his own motivations, but it is an intricate decision he has to make. This is again evident in Act 3, scene 1, when Hamlet instructs Ophelia; “To a nunnery, go, and/ Quickly too. Farewell” (3.1 151-152). The only reason Hamlet would utter such bitter words to Ophelia, is because he trusts Ophelia will be kept safer there than anywhere near the kingdom. In doing so, Hamlet proves that he still cares for Ophelia and what they had, but he cannot manage their relationship at the same time getting revenge, because he’s too caught up in pursuing his own motives. Eventually, as Ophelia goes mad and dies,
Ophelia, ever since her introduction, has been introduced to be a sweet and sympathetic person, providing the play with emotional moments, but her death was used as a bait and switch by Shakespeare towards audience members who had expected her to change the play’s somber mood to more hopeful one, which in turn makes the play even more tragic. After she had been visited by an apparently crazed Hamlet, she tells Polonius about the visit, prompting him to believe that the young prince is crazy in love, and goes out to tell the king. After it was explained to Claudius, and Hamlet’s former friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern failed to find the underlying cause of his madness, Polonius makes Ophelia approach Hamlet while he and the king hide and monitor his behavior.
In another scene, Polonius orders Ophelia to return the gifts that Hamlet gave her, and to make her rejection of him unmistakable and absolute. Polonius believes that if she is the cause of Hamlet’s madness, this would be the proof. “That Hamlet loses his mental stability is arguable from his behavior toward Ophelia…” (Foster, par.16) In Branagh’s version, we see how terribly this tears Ophelia’s heart. When Hamlet sees her, he walks up to her, telling her how much he loves her. After Hamlet kisses her, she returns the love letters that he wrote back to him. She sees how crushed he is, which makes her feel even worse; but she also believes she has to do this because her father ordered her to. Hamlet tells her “Get thee to a nunnery” (William
In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare developed the story of prince Hamlet, and the murder of his father by the king's brother, Claudius. Hamlet reacted to this event with an internal battle that harmed everyone around him. Ophelia was the character most greatly impacted by Hamlet's feigned and real madness - she first lost her father, her sanity, and then her life. Ophelia, obedient, weak-willed, and no feminist role model, deserves the most pity of any character in the play.
Midway through Hamlet, Ophelia is well under the control of Polonius and Hamlet. They are both manipulating and using her as a pawn as to get what they want and she has little to no say about it. Act 2, scene 1 serves as a turning point, as it is when Ophelia begins to realize the manipulation she faces at the hands of both her father and Hamlet, and that she can only truly gain her freedom when she herself descends into madness. Polonius’ manipulation, Hamlet’s control and Ophelia’s own thoughts and actions demonstrate her descent, and the aftermath.
There are volumes of critical analyses devoted to William Shakespeare's Hamlet. As the title indicates, Hamlet is the main character of the play, but there are other characters who are also important to the plot. So much attention has been given to Hamlet's antics that characters such as Ophelia remain relatively unexamined. Ophelia is a key figure in the play, and to understand her reactions to the patriarchal society in which she lives through her relationships with the men in her life adds more depth to the play. Ophelia's character is revealed through her relationships with her father, Polonius, her brother, Laertes, and her lover, Hamlet, and their characters in turn are revealed through their
Ophelia is shortly affected by the protagonist’s mad conduct. And immediately she goes to her father, Polonius, to explain how she is “so affrighted” as a result of Hamlet’s visit:
Hamlet, a tragic play written by Shakespeare in the 1600s, portrays the struggle of young Hamlet in the face of avenging his father’s death. While major themes throughout this tragedy include death, loss, madness, revenge, and morality, another important theme to include in discussion is the theme of womanhood. The only two female characters in a cast of thirty-five include Queen Gertrude and Ophelia, both of whom die unfortunate deaths. The importance of womanhood and female sexuality is shown through several literary techniques; though, most importantly, the characters Queen Gertrude and Ophelia are both symbols for female sexuality. Both characters are developed as negative and positive sides to womanhood through dialogue as other characters approach them, their own actions, and most importantly, their individual deaths.
Polonius, her brother Laertes, and her lover Hamlet. Although Hamlet was a large cause it wasn't him alone (Bali 6).When Ophelia's father is murdered by the man she loves her character’s ability to stay sane is stripped and she feels she is incapable of moving on, so she takes her own life. After Ophelia is gone as well as her father Polonius her brother Laertes develops a will for revenge, which he intends to seek upon Hamlet, Ophelia's brothers revenge results in his own death as the story continues.