Essay on The Character of Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Character of Ophelia in Hamlet In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the character Ophelia plays an important role in the elaboration of the plot. In the beginning, she is in a healthy state of mind, in love with Hamlet, yet controlled by her father. During the play she has several troubling experiences involving Hamlet - causing her to become distressed. The death of Ophelia's father leaves her mentally unstable and in a state of madness that eventually leads to her own death. Ophelia and Hamlet's love for each other begins as a very real experience. Hamlet is quite attracted by Ophelia's beauty and falls in love with her. However, Ophelia is very much controlled by her father, Polonius, a highly respected…show more content…
Laertes knows that Hamlet may not be able to choose his own marriage partner in the future because he will have to act in a manner that is best for the country. He does not want Hamlet to treat his sister as a plaything only to end up leaving her. So he warns Ophelia to be careful. Ophelia is incapable of ignoring her father's and her brother's opinions. So, feeling as though she has no control over her life, she writes Hamlet a letter informing him that she can no longer see him. This sets in motion a chain of events that eventually leads to her destruction. When Hamlet receives the letter from Ophelia he is terribly hurt and angered by her words. The next time he sees her, she is surprised, and even a bit frightened, by his behavior. Hamlet does not look like himself, and he acts very strangely towards her. He took me by the wrist and held me hard; Then goes he to the length of all his arm, And, with his other hand thus o'er his brow He falls to such perusal of my face As he would draw it. Long stayed he so (II.i.98-102). As Hamlet exits, he leaves behind an intensely troubled, saddened, and guilt-ridden Ophelia who immediately tells her father about her unsettling experience. Polonius believes that Ophelia's love has made Hamlet crazy. "That hath made him mad" (II. i.122). Polonius then goes to tell the King and Queen of Hamlet's strange behavior and makes plans to spy on Hamlet to prove he has
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