The Abuse of Ophelia in "Hamlet"

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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.

When reading the text, one can comprehend that Ophelia is caught in the middle between two opposite sides. Her family (father and brother) believe that Hamlet is a womanizer rather then the philosopher that he is. They also believe that he will use her in order to achieve his own purposes, and that he would take her precious virginity only to discard it because he would never be her husband. But, Ophelia's heart mesmerized by Hamlets cunning linguistics is set on the fact that Hamlet truly loves her or loved her, even though he swears he never did. In the eye of her father and brother, she will always be a pure, wholesome girl, an eternal virgin in a sense, (due to a parents nature to always see their offspring as a child) they want her to ascend into her stereotypical role in life as a vessel of morality whose sole purpose of existence is to be a obedient wife and a committed mother. However, to Hamlet she is simply an object used to satisfy and fulfill his sexual needs. He also seems to hold her at a distant which suggests that he may...

... middle of paper ... accuse her of being a harlot. In fact he recommends her to enroll in a nunnery, which would imply that she was no better then a common tart. Hamlet constantly creates situations where Ophelia is torn between different obligations and therefore is always at fault according to him.

The men in Ophelia's life are wrong about her true personality. They make demands that are impossible to resolve due to the conflicting forces that influence her life. There is no way that she could possibly live up to these demands because they contradict each other. Due to the absence of Ophelia's mother, her life is completely dominated by the will of men. All of her decisions and choices in life are determined by the men around her, therefore Ophelia is a character that lacks freewill. She is deprived of the most basic intuition of humans, so therefore she loses the will to live.

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