The Analysis of the Character Ophelia on Hamlet Essay

1297 Words 6 Pages
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is the most static character in the play. Instead of changing through the course of the play, she remains suffering in the misfortunes perpetrated upon her. She falls into insanity and dies a tragic death. Ophelia has issues surviving without a male influence, and her downfall is when all the men in her life abandon her. Hamlet’s Ophelia, is a tragic, insane character that cannot exist on her own. In Elizabethan times, Ophelia is restricted as a woman. She is obedient to the commands of the men in her life although she often attempts to do the right thing. Polonius, Laertes, and Hamlet all have a grasp on Ophelia and who she is. She does not have the freedom to change her fate as Hamlet does. …show more content…
Hamlet knows that she is helping her dad, Polonius, spy on him. He accuses Ophelia, and all women, of being a “breeder of sinners” (Shmoop Editorial Team 1). Hamlet orders Ophelia to a nunnery, but she cannot call him out on it because she is not supposed to know what the word means. This is not the only criticism that Hamlet calls out to Ophelia. He says that if Ophelia is to marry a man, she will turn her husband into a monster because she will cheat on him (Shmoop Editorial Team 1). Hamlet: “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell” (3.1.130-134). The lack of women in Ophelia’s life deprives her from any influence in her life to help guide her. Gabrielle Dane says, “Motherless and completely circumscribed by the men around her, Ophelia has been shaped to conform to external demands, to reflect others’ desires” (qtd. in Brown 1). Since Ophelia has no woman influence in her life, Polonius is left as the dominant role in her life (Brown 1). She is an obedient daughter and abides by the rules her father gives her with no protest. She is seen as her father’s property (Maki 2). Her
Open Document