The Influence Of Ophelia And Death In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of his most influential plays, and his character, Ophelia, is arguably the most iconic female in all of his plays. As the daughter of the King’s advisor, Ophelia is obedient and loyal to her father, Polonius, however after his murder, she descends into an insane, helpless woman. She eventually commits suicide by falling off a willow tree and drowning, and her death and events leading up to continue to be revolutionary. Lilly E. Romestant argues in her 2015 essay “Ophelia and the Feminine Construct” that Ophelia and her death is a significant influence to our society’s pop culture. She says, “Ophelia is immortalized through her own tragic circumstances,” which includes her decision to commit suicide and dependence…show more content…
Hamlet wants to use Ophelia for his sexual desire, but also to provoke his uncle-father and mother. Polonius warms that Ophelia will not get what she expects out of this relationship, showing her that there are other people who will care for her more than Ophelia. The word “beguile” means to enchant, so, again, Polonius warns Ophelia that he will take advantage of her for his own good, and Ophelia should be aware of all the consequences that will follow when the relationship ends. At the end, Polonius suggests that Ophelia should talk to Hamlet and end their relationship. Ophelia responds with the submissive, “I shall obey, my lord.” This shows how submissive Ophelia is and how loyal she is to her father. Although Ophelia is loyal, too much of anything is a bad thing. Because of her unbounded loyalty, Ophelia is defined as Polonius, she doesn’t know how to be an individual. At one point, Romestant suggested that “without the presence of a mother figure, Ophelia grew up sandwiches between [Polonius] and his rigid ideas alone, and did not have an opportunity to develop any kind of sophisticated identity,” (6). Although this claim seems reasonable, Ophelia has been bound to Polonius from birth, and if you replaced him with a woman, she would still be dependent on the woman. The dependence of her mother would be fueled by Polonius, therefore Ophelia…show more content…
Ophelia’s tendency to follow everything the men say is crucial in explaining why she is not a good influence to the modern woman. Especially today with high power males being accused of sexual assault, women are learning to challenge these men and not succumb to the power these men have. It is amazing to see how women, like Ophelia, have come from being afraid of speaking out to speaking out without hesitation. This fearlessness is a trait we all can expand on, so we are able to make the world a better place for our gender. Our defiance will model to the younger generation the need for more people to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. With time, I believe that women will continue proving themselves in order to show that we have the power to change society’s views of our

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