Character Analysis of Ophelia and Gertude in Shakespeare´s Hamlet

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William Shakespeare also known as the English nationalist poet is widely considered the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare spent the majority of his life writing poems that captured the “complete range of human emotion and conflict” (“Biography of William Shakespeare”). Throughout the world, people have performed William Shakespeare’s plays, poems, and sonnets for over four hundred years. Still to this day, Shakespeare’s plays have become very well known. One of William Shakespeare's most famous plays is, Hamlet. In Hamlet, the women, Ophelia and Gertrude were portrayed as property, non- controlling, inferior, and solely dependent on men throughout the play.
Ophelia is an obedient daughter who is dependent on her father, Polonius for guidance. Ophelia and Hamlet were deeply in love, until his mother, Gertrude married his uncle, Claudius, the day of his father's funeral. After seeing this, Hamlet believes that all women, including his love, Ophelia are weak and only wanted sex from men. Hamlet gets even more upset when he finds out that Ophelia is becoming her father's puppet because she starts to follow Polonius's orders without having any say in any of her own situations. For instance, her father did not want her marrying Hamlet because he wanted all the power. If Ophelia was to marry Hamlet, she then would gain more power than her father. This is exactly what he did not want, that is why Polonius, told her she could no longer see him. Without any hesitation, Ophelia agreed to his arrangement. When Ophelia goes back to her father, to ask for advice on Hamlet, he responds in his own liking by saying, “You do not understand yourself so clearly/ As it behooves my daughter and your honour" (1.3.105-6). According to Woolf, “...

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.... The only thing she can think of was suicide. Gertrude describes her death by saying,
“When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death” (4.7.2).
Gertrude explains that Ophelia’s death was an accident and she let it happen. She disregards to save herself from sinking. Ophelia's "garments" "pull" her down, as if they had a mind of their own. This seems to be a metaphor for the way Ophelia lives her life: doing what her father and brother—and boyfriend—tell her to do, rather than making decisions for herself.
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