Poor Ophelia

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According to Aristotle, Hamlet: The Tragedy of the Prince of Denmark, is in fact not a tragedy. For, although it is composed of the six elements that Aristotle reflects on for a tragedy to be named a tragedy it does not follow the “structure of incidents”. (Aristotle VI) Aristotle believed that the Plot was of the utmost importance followed next by Character, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, and Song. However, past generations have in fact named Hamlet a tragedy and I believe that is because of Shakespeare’s unique quality in finding the tragedy within the characters tales and their background stories- Aristotle disagreed with this statement by stating that a tragedy shows rather than tells. And in the story of Hamlet, the majority of lines consist of the telling of what has happened by the characters who are involved in the action. Rather, Aristotle commits solely on action, I however see the tragedy within Character, most tragically being that of Ophelia who, according to simple tragedy descriptions, undergoes a struggle and suffers a downfall. In Hamlet, we meet Ophelia, a female character who is “good, true to life yet more beautiful and stays consistent” in her character traits up until her final moments of assumed insanity and then death. (Aristotle V) These elements that Ophelia depicts are elements in which Aristotle defines a tragic character, hence making Ophelia tragic in his interpretation, and also mine. The following scenes including Ophelia, her male family members and Hamlet will prove to be evidence that Ophelia exhibits the qualities of the most tragic character within the play beginning with a scene involving her father Polonius and brother Laertes. “I do not know, my lord, what I should think.” (Ophelia 1, 3, ... ... middle of paper ... ...ng shaped and molded to the reflection of what these men saw and wanted out of a sister, daughter and lover/whore. Without this constant reflection, Ophelia’s purpose within the play has no meaning, for she was Polonius' pawn, Laertes' chaste sister, and Hamlet's lover. Now being that these male influences are removed, Ophelia no longer holds those titles- in fact, she holds no title- she becomes a mere nothing; a lost identity exhibiting a large amount of pathos. With Laertes gone to France, Polonius gone and dead and Hamlet gone from her heart, she is left with no guidance, thus making her tragically lost in a tragic world which leads to her tragic death. Work Cited Shakespeare, William. Hamlet: The Tragedy of the Prince of Denmark. Signet Classics. New York. New American Library. 1998. Aristotle. Poetics. The Project Guttenberg.( November 3, 2008.) I-XV.
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