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Ofelia's Madness Essay

Decent Essays
Scene Analysis: Ofelia’s Madness
Since Hamlet emerged onto the literary scene, scholars have argued both sides of this debate: is Ofelia actually mad? Many refer to a scene where Ofelia appears to be in a dazed state of mind as she dances and sings around the court, for evidence.
The scene in question, scene 13, sets itself to establish a few key relationships between characters and develops the plot, set the tone of the play for the upcoming action as well as reanalyze Ofelia’s reliability as a character. When Ofelia loses her mind, she starts handing out flowers to everyone around her. She talks directly about the symbolic meaning of those flowers, but what is also important is who might be on the receiving end of these flowers. To begin, this scene establishes a connection between Laertes and the King. When Laertes enters he is clearly angry and distraught as opposed to the calm and logical character the reader was previously introduced to. This is shown when he says, “Who hath murdered him? Speak!” and “I will no reconcilement but by blood” (Scene 13). He is clearly out to seek justice for his father’s murder. The
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Analyzing the textual contents, the argument that Ofelia is not completely insane is apparent. She gives rue, the herb of grace and repentance to the King. In written work, rue is known for its symbolic meaning of regret. It is given to the King to wear in repentance, for committing regicide, and some to herself, “Here’s some for me too”, to wear in regret and grief at the loss of her father and her lover (Scene 13). She also gives the King a daisy to symbolize unhappy love or forsaken love. Fennel is given to Gertred and is emblematic of flattery and deceit. Lastly, there are no violets given to anyone; they are connected to death: "[. . .] I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died" (Scene
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