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Differences Between Hamlet And Ophelia

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2. In Hamlet, Hamlet is forced to choose between his love for Ophelia and his responsibility of killing Claudius, the murderer of his father. In Act 2, scene 1 of the play, the reader sees Hamlet terrorize Ophelia with his insanity act: “O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted” (2.1.75). This is a way to fend off her so he could focus on only what matters to him at this point: revenge. When the Ghost reveals that Hamlet Sr. was murdered by Claudius, Hamlet vows to get revenge. Hamlet’s situation with his uncle and mother leaves no time for him to think about other matters, such as Ophelia. This conflict between passion and responsibility plays an important part in Ophelia’s detriment and eventual demise. Hamlet’s rejection of her love…show more content…
Hamlet and Ophelia are both characters in the play that are insane (or so pretend to be). Both characters, however, are mad in their own sense. Primarily, Hamlet’s madness is willed, he consciously takes the decision of putting “an antic disposition on” (1.5.179). He is “mad” only when he is in the company of others in the castle. When he is alone or with Horatio such as in the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy or the graveyard scene, his madness is completely gone. Everything Hamlet says at all times in the play make complete sense, to the reader that is. To others, his speech is unusual because they do not understand his underlying goal and his knowledge of Claudius’ deeds. Ophelia’s madness on the other hand is more true in that her madness is not a conscious decision but rather the eventual result of several burdens in her life, primarily her father’s death and secondly, Hamlet. She also acts crazier than Hamlet; this is especially evident in Act 4, scene 5 of the play. Her looks are empty and her speech, according to Gertrude, “is nothing” (4.5.8). She changes immediately in topic from love to death in the same song, exits the room, re-enters and continues with her singing. This is unlike Hamlet’s madness who is considered mad because people cannot understand him and because he has occasional violent outbursts, due to his anger about his unfortunate situation. Both madnesses are similar in that they stem from the loss of a father; the madnesses of the two…show more content…
Hamlet definitely shows sexist behavior in the play, a result of his disgust over his mother’s marriage with Claudius. The play itself is generally sexist and reflects the common notions on women during that time period. Despite this however, the play is not wholly sexist and at times, is emphatic towards women. Ophelia is the most important example. Although she too is insulted by Hamlet because of her femininity (“get thee to a nunnery, why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” (3.1.313-314)), she is a weak character because of her family structure (a brother and a father) and the men in her life. Hamlet and Polonius have such a significant power on her character and her life that her death is the very result of these two men. Shakespeare makes Ophelia an unfortunate character, whose demise comes from actually obeying her father’s wishes. Furthermore, while Hamlet is sexist towards his mother, Gertrude either intentionally or mistakenly saves her son’s life by drinking from the poisoned pearl cup. She goes against her husband’s warning, “Gertrude, do not drink / I will I beg you pardon me,” (5.2.287-88) and for the first time in the play, gains confidence to act according to her own will. In doing so, she loses her life, but saves the life of her son, although only
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