Throughout many literary works we are met with characters who appear briefly throughout that work. In the literary work Hamlet (Shakespeare, 1603), we are introduced to the character Ophelia. Ophelia can either been seen as driven for her mad love towards Hamlet, or seen just as a victim to society for the outrageous expectations she has for being a woman. Ophelia appears briefly throughout Hamlet, but when she appears she is caught between the her father and brother’s instructions, and Hamlet’s overwhelming demands.
The character of Ophelia is an excellent element of drama used to develop interpretations of Shakespeare’s text. At the beginning of the play, she is happy and in love with Hamlet, who first notices her beauty and then falls in love with her. The development of Ophelia’s madness and the many factors that contributed to her suicide are significant parts of the plot. “Her madness was attributed to the extremity of her emotions, which in such a frail person led to melancholy and eventual breakdown” (Teker, par. 3). The character of Ophelia in Zieffirelli’s version is the personification of a young innocent girl. “Her innocence is mixed with intelligence, keen perception, and erotic awareness” (Teker, par. 13). This Ophelia is a victim of a distrustful lover and an authoritative father. She is an obedient daughter, who is controlled by her father Polonius, an advisor to King Claudius. Therefore, she believed she had to do everything her father told her to, which caused her to stifle her love and hurt Hamlet, the man she loved (Hamlet). In Branagh’s version, Ophelia is more emotionally mature and physically stronger. The reasons for her madness are outcomes “of her frustrated romance with [Hamlet] as well as her status as a pawn of all the men in her life” (William Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Teker, par. 17). The experiences she encountered with Hamlet result in great anguish to her. Specifically, he did not marry her when he had promised to do so. On St. Valentine’s Day, she alludes to this by singing a song about a maid whose lover also did not marry her as he promised (Shakespeare 4.5.24-64). She was constantly conflicted by what her father wanted, what Hamlet wanted, and what she wanted.
Hamlet - the Character of Ophelia Ophelia is in love with Hamlet, but like so many women, she is at the beck and call of her family first and foremost. Ophelia is not unintelligent, she is simply weak-willed. She doesn't know what she wants, so she lets other people decide for her, namely her father and brother. Hamlet's love letters are at odds with her father's wishes, and, because she is not able to form individual thoughts and opinions, she becomes confused as to what she really wants. Ophelia's weakness of mind and will, which catalyzes her obedience to her father and thus destroys her hope for Hamlet's love, finally results in her insanity and eventual death.
Ophelia is one of the characters in Hamlet with the most unrealized potential for character development. Even though she is relatively important to the plot we don’t know much about her. She is used as a pawn by almost every character in the play, and because she is woman, she is unable to say no, or speak her mind. She is essentially trapped. Throughout the play, she faces arguably just as much emotional trauma as Hamlet. She believes herself to be in love with Hamlet, but both her father and her brother insist, rather harshly, that she is being used and must stop seeing him. Neither of them seem to care for her feelings, they are mostly concerned with her reputation. After she breaks off her relationship with Hamlet at her father’s
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,
I can't help but sympathize with Ophelia. Her trusting, innocent love for Hamlet comes into conflict with her duty to her over-protective brother and her over-bearing father. She loves Hamlet, and she gives herself to him body and soul, but to what end? She pays the ultimate price for love, gives up her life as a testament to her fidelity; she will have no other man but Hamlet. If Hamlet hadn't been so caught up in his own misery, he might have been able to recognize the melancholy in Ophelia, and perhaps he could have saved her from herself; and Ophelia might have been able to save him as well.
Being a female in the Elizabethan period meant that you were to be considered as property, a subspecies of human, far below the male-counterpart. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there is no one more representative of being oppressed, than the character of Ophelia. She is such a respectful, docile, young woman, that oftentimes she represses her own feelings to represent the obedient role of a female, and through a catalyst of unfortunate events in her life, her frail mentality pushes her into a deep depression. Ophelia endures a perplexing struggle with coming of age due to her absent female confidants, a pompous father, and a selfish lover.
The character Ophelia in William Shakespeares play Hamlet plays a very interesting and important role in the elaboration of the plot. In the beginning, she starts off in a healthy state of mind, in love with her boyfriend Hamlet, yet controlled by her father in regard to their relationship. During the play she encounters several troubling experiences involving Hamlet which cause her to become distressed. Near the end, the death of her father leaves Ophelia mentally unstable and in a state of madness that eventually leads her to death. So, due to all of the unfortunate events that took place with the people she loved the most in her life, Ophelia gradually becomes mad, and in the end passes away.
Ophelia, as the protagonist’s love interest, generally would occupy a role in which the main character would be openly smitten with her. In Hamlet, rather the opposite is true. Ophelia’s character is very obviously in love with Hamlet, however, her father and b...
In a world full of hopelessness and horror, Ophelia represents a diming beacon of hope in Hamlet’s life. It is clear from the beginning that Ophelia's love for Hamlet is real and reciprocated in strength. Even after Laertes and Polonius try and convince her that even if Hamlet’s feelings for her were real, things between them could never work out, Ophelia insists that he “hath given countenance to his speech, [...] with almost all the holy vows of heaven” (11). She is convinced that Hamlet’s love for her is so real his feelings couldn’t be faked. Reluctantly Ophelia agrees to call things off with Hamlet at her father’s request even if it means pretending she doesn’t love him. From the beginning Hamlet conveys his dismal attitude towards the world through his devaluation of life; but Ophelia’s presence represents a light in Hamlet’s never ending darkness.