Hamlet, Ophelia, By William Shakespeare

953 Words4 Pages
1. An individual is often a product of their environment. Society often believes the actions of an individual may be determined by the social environment that individual is brought up in. In the play Hamlet by Shakespeare, Ophelia, a main character, is what some would call a product of her environment. The events in this play show us how Polonius, Laertes, and later Hamlet, can affect Ophelia’s environment enough to manipulate her into her madness. Evidently, this is shown when she is underestimated by her father and brother, when Hamlet manipulates her into believing he loves her and when she realizes that the events are causing her madness. To begin, Ophelia is clearly underestimated by both her father and her brother. Speaking to the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia, Ophelia’s father Polonius suggests Ophelia should ”[t]ender [herself] more clearly, Or--not to [c]rack the wind of the poor phase, Running it thus--you’ll tender me a fool” (Shakespeare 1.3.107-109). This is Polonius warning Ophelia to watch herself around Hamlet and not to fall in love with him too quickly. Her father believes she will be fooled because Hamlet is of noble status and his obligations belong to his family. Ironically, Ophelia also is obligated to abide by her brother and father. Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, tries to warn Ophelia that Hamlet is clearly using her when he says not to “lose [her] heart, or [her] chaste treasure open [t]o his unmastered importunity” (Shakespeare 1.3.30-31).
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