“Most people don’t know the answer to the question, ‘How are you? How do you feel?’ The reason why they don’t know is that they are so busy feeling what they are supposed to feel, thinking what they’re supposed to think, that they never get down to examining their own deepest feelings.” (Hayakawa 1) Society imposes and influences human beings in such a way that we begin to mimic what it wants us to be. In the play Hamlet written by the memorable author William Shakespeare, Ophelia fails to be herself and enjoy life as it is but instead lets men that surround her control her life. Ophelia’s character is depicted as a weak and impotent individual. Shakespeare indirectly portrays Ophelia as a vulnerable character; Thomas G. Plummer imposes a connection to an Ophelia Syndrome that everyone experiences due to the lack of self empowerment and self will.
William Shakespeare's character of Ophelia in Hamlet, suffers greatly, from the time she learns of her father Polonius' death, until her own mysterious death. In Hamlet, Gertrude, Horatio and Claudius refer to her state, and conclude that she is crazy1. Though there is some truth to their claim, Shakespeare created Ophelia as an overly- dramatic character, who is somewhat exaggerating her emotions to give an impression of madness. Although their impression of Ophelia can be supported, evidence is not shown as much in her words, as it is shown in her actions. Ophelia's songs seem like riddles and nonsense2, yet they are similar to the patterns of speech by Hamlet, revealing truths and true emotions, and at times sarcasm. However, Ophelia's whimsical, and child-like behavior is quite different than the prim, reserved Ophelia at the beginning of the play. Still, this behavior is not consistent with the sad words in her grief-laden songs, nor is it consistent with a woman in grief rather Ophelia's physical behavior is the strongest evidence that Ophelia may exhibit signs of madness. Hamlet's act to convince his insanity to all that knew him influenced Ophelia to perform following Hamlet's lead with his feigned madness, eventually leading to the girl's suicide, thus implicating Hamlet in her death.
In Act I Scene IV, Ophelia starts to talk to her father about the growing relationship between herself and Hamlet. Although she believes it is real, her father does not think so since he is a prince and tells her she is not allowed to see him anymore. She is unable to express herself or her feelings for others if it does not follow her father’s standards. In Act III Scene I, after Hamlet started becoming distracted and no one knew what was wrong with him, Ophelia was sent to find out information from him. No matter how much she loves Hamlet she will betray him to follow her father’s orders. In Act III Scene II, there is a play put on for the royal family and guests. Hamlet teases her and asks her if he should lay in her lap and then continues to tell her to go to a nunnery she cannot do anything about it. The only way she can keep her reputation and her father’s honor intact is by ignoring it and acting like it means nothing to
The story of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, is considered to be a perplexing play as the many subplots twist, turn, and unfold. The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia is conceivably the most widely discussed topic as countless theories are developed throughout the story. It is a tragedy, of many sorts, that Hamlet and Ophelia are not able to display their love for each other,
In William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, he portrays a young Ophelia, who battles with her desire to please her father and Hamlet, eventually driving her to her own demise. The way Ophelia is perceived by the other characters in the book is not how the reader perceives her. Her love for Hamlet is strong, and very apparent throughout the play. The other characters, however, view her in the opposite manner. Her own father, Polonius, labeled her as a whore, casting her aside as useless. Ophelia’s pain consumes her as she fails to please her family and the man she loves dearly.
With her father’s word being law and with that what he says she must follow, if she refuses Polonius, she risks social exclusion and grave insult to the man who controls her future. Her real attitude is clear when she has a conversation about chastity, first with Laertes, her brother, then with Polonius, her father. After Laertes rather explicitly warns Ophelia to fear losing her virginity, she replies by telling him not to lecture her, “Whiles, a puff'd and reckless libertine, / Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, / And recks not his own rede” (1.3.48-50). When polonius gives her the same lecture and tells her not to accept Hamlet’s propositions, she simply replies, “I shall obey, my lord”
Ophelia was driven mad by the death of her father Polonius and how Hamlet betrayed her love with his own wave of madness which was just an act. In her madness, Ophelia talks about her father and his death and about the “Tricks in the world” (terrible things that happen to people). Ophelia’s madness was also the extent of her being used by her father so he could spy on Hamlet to see if he was truly crazy and then by Hamlet when he claimed he no longer loved her and that he didn’t send her any letters (remembrances). Ophelia’s speech and her fragments of songs are unsensible. Her song was about her father’s death “He is gone, He is gone” (4.5.220), and a maiden who is tricked into losing her virginity with a false promise of love and the possibility of marriage. “To be your valentine, then up he rose and donned his clothes and duped the chamber door” (4.5.56-58)
...She had lost her father and her lover while her brother was away for school, and she was no longer useful as a puppet in a greater scheme. Ophelia was displaced, an Elizabethan woman without the men on whom she had been taught to depend. Therein lies the problem - she lacked independence so much that she could not continue living without Polonius, Laertes, and Hamlet. Ophelia's aloneness led to her insanity and death. The form of her death was the only fitting end for her - she drowned in a nearby river, falling beneath the gentle waters. She finally found peace in her mad world. That is how Ophelia is so useful as a classic feminist study - she evokes imagery of the fragile beauty women are expected to become, but shows what happens to women when they submit as such.
Ophelia is conditioned to obey Polonius and Laertes’ commands, thinly veiled as guidance for her “own good.” She is never trusted to have a mind of her own, often having her intelligence openly insulted, causing her to be dependent on the men in her life. These men exercise authority over her, patronize, and degrade her, lowering her self-esteem to a non-existent level, and leaving her a...
The story of Hamlet is a morbid tale of tragedy, commitment, and manipulation; this is especially evident within the character of Ophelia. Throughout the play, Ophelia is torn between obeying and following the different commitments that she has to men in her life. She is constantly torn between the choice of obeying the decisions and wishes of her family or that of Hamlet. She is a constant subject of manipulation and brain washing from both her father and brother. Ophelia is not only subject to the torture of others using her for their intentions but she is also susceptible to abuse from Hamlet. Both her father and her brother believe that Hamlet is using her to achieve his own personal goals.
Beginning in Act I, Ophelia is written as a submissive, naïve girl. Qualities she possesses are what allows her father and Hamlet to belittle her. The actions of Polonius and Hamlet towards her are the very elements leading her to become emotionally compromised. Ophelia was publically humiliated in front of the king and queen when forced to read a letter from Hamlet about their love:
Ophelia, in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, represents a self-confident and aware female character. She analyzes the world around her and recognizes the multitude of male figures attempting to control her life. Her actions display not only this awareness, but also maturity in her non-confrontational discussions. Though she is demeaned by Laertes, Polonius, and Hamlet, Ophelia exhibits intelligence and independence and ultimately resorts to suicide in order to free herself from the power of the men around her.
Very nearly, Ophelia was once the property of her father. The issue of Ophelia’s chastity considerations Polonius as a guardian and a flesh-presser a virginal Ophelia has a greater threat of attaining Hamlet’s hand in marriage”. As such, Ophelia’s emotions and wants are suppressed by using her incapability to freely voice herself in a strictly patriarchal society that views her as a sexual object for an
Her lover kills her father; that is enough to drive most people mad. In this scene, Ophelia uses nature as a coping device, referencing and giving flowers. “Nature is fine in love, and where ‘tis fine/It sends some precious instance of itself/After the thing it loves.” Ophelia truly loses part of herself when her father dies, and her madness becomes visible. We can see Ophelia’s love for Polonius as the trigger for her insanity. “Polonius is a fool in his handling of Ophelia, but there is no doubt of his paternal concern, even if it can be overlaid with ulterior interests at the same time. Ophelia’s evident heartbreak at his death… testifies to his adequacy as a parent.” (Boyce) From what we have seen, Polonius may not have been the bringer of confidence or even a father figure, but Ophelia still loves him. Now that she has lost two loves and her only other family has been absent, Ophelia’s mind cannot take anymore and she, in her madness, is presumably sent to