As a woman in a society dominated by men, Ophelia has few choices in life. While unmarried, she would have to obey her father, Polonius, and once married, she would have to obey her husband. She obediently does as her father tells her without complaint, even if what he commands ...
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...y mad she would not be able to understand the deeper meaning of giving someone these flowers.
Ophelia understands that it is her madness that allows her to freely express herself, yet she also realizes that she has few options left for herself. Polonius is dead, Hamlet is insane and has abandoned her, and Laertes is dedicated solely on revenge. Ophelia has nowhere to turn and everyone believes she has gone mad. Although Ophelia may not have actively committed suicide, when she accidentally falls into the water, she accepts it. Gertrude explains that Ophelia fell into the water, at “Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds, / As on incapable of her own distress” (5.1.176-77). Even though she is not capable of making a choice of whether or not save herself, she is at peace. She accepts the fact that she is unable to act without someone to tell her what to do.
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