The Lady Of Shalott, By William Shakespeare

1709 WordsApr 19, 20157 Pages
William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, has become a staple in contemporary society. Apart from the multitude of ingenious in this play, the character of Ophelia particularly places great importance on modern day woman. Ophelia’s importance throughout the play has been many times viewed as only her relation to Hamlet and the effect she has on him. Ophelia is important not just in this sense, but in respect of what she tells the reader about the society she lived in, in contrast to the society one lives in today. Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalott, parallels closely to the life of Ophelia. Tennyson’s poem written over 200 years after Hamlet, is about a young woman who lives on an island off the coast of Camelot. There is a curse…show more content…
Ophelia is the most one-sided yet consistent out of all the vital characters in Hamlet. She has great potential to be a tragic heroine and overcome the misfortunes forced upon her but instead, she slowly diminishes into insanity following Hamlet’s contradictory treatment towards her, and murder of her father: “She speaks much of her father, says she hears there’s tricks i’th’ world, and hems, and beats her heart,” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, 4.5. 4-5). Ophelia is a young woman, with no womanly guidance to aid her. Her father Polonius, and brother Laertes, care for Ophelia and go to great lengths to preserve her innocence. Her loyalty to her father and brother is out of pure gratitude and appreciation for their concern. She obeys her father and brother’s command not to see or accept any letters from Hamlet, despite her love for him: Polonius: “This is for all: I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, have you so slander any moment leisure, as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look to ’t, I charge you”(1.3.131-135) Ophelia: “I shall obey, my lord”. (1.3.136) Polonius believes he knows what is best for Ophelia, and it is his ego that initiates her antic disposition. Polonius is convinced, Hamlet’s madness is due to Ophelia breaking ties with him. This theory is what drives Polonius to concern the king, Claudius, and use Ophelia as a pawn to get to the bottom of Hamlet’s madness. Hamlet unravels their plan, and when encountered with
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