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Hamlet, by William Shakespeare Essay

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“To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the beautified Ophelia, Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; ‘O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon my groans: but that I love thee best, O most best, believe it.” These words, penned by Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, reflect many of the characteristics that influence Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius. From this quote and many others, we are able to gather that Ophelia is a beautiful, young, and loyal maiden in whom Hamlet seeks to please. As a supporting character to Hamlet, her presence provides many opportunities to transcend into the inner person of Hamlet. Later, she becomes tangled between the opposing forces of revenge and ensconcing ones sin. Ophelia becomes a major character in understanding not only Hamlet the person but also the meaning of Hamlet as a complete story. When all is said and done and the final word is read, Ophelia’s role is pivotal in dissecting the play because she provides a dynamic parallel to the stages of Hamlet’s behavior throughout the play and provides the audience with the an important moral of what the play is teaching.

Ophelia is an accelerated view from the beginning of who Hamlet is to the end of what he becomes. As the play begins we see two young, passionate lovers that, if circumstances would permit, would seek one another in courtship. This we know to be true of Ophelia, as when we are first introduced to Ophelia in Act I Scene III, she is cautioned from both her brother, Laertes, and her father, Polonius, to not fall for or give any more attention to Hamlet as she hitherto has been. This scene also provides the answer to why Ophelia is prevented from showi...


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...he pursuit of evil is not a solemn encounter. Within the wake of their ugly path, the innocent, the Ophelia’s of the world are often most deeply affected.

With careful study of Ophelia’s parallels to Hamlet and the woeful death of Ophelia, the audience is thrust with this tragedy’s message of the abounding affects of revenge and sin on far more than just an individual. By understanding her character we are able to pattern and compare her experiences with that of Hamlet’s start to finish: two lovers, challenged with conflicting desires of the heart, driven to madness, before losing their lives to the evils of revenge and sin. Ophelia’s purpose is much more than just a romantic love interest to the main character. She opens up not only Hamlet the man, but her character provides a likeness for understanding parallels and morals within the entire play of Hamlet.



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