Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius, the right hand man of the King.
Although she is only in five scenes Ophelia plays an interesting role
in this play as the seemingly passive, melancholy, innocent 'little
girl' whose story ends in tragedy. From the beginning Ophelia is an
obedient character who has real trouble thinking for herself. This
could be seen as one of the reasons for her eventual downfall, due to
her inability to analyse a strange, complicated pattern of events. She
is always accepting other people's views or advice, acting upon them,
with no thought or interpretation of what the results could be. This
is one of the reasons why her suicide is not thought of by her or the
reader in her first scenes, because for her to commit such an act
would take thought and initiative, two concepts completely foreign to
Ophelia in the opening scenes.
In the first scene that Ophelia is in (Act 1 Scene 3) we are not only
treated to our first impressions of Ophelia but also her pivotal
relationship with her brother and father. In this scene Laertes, about
to leave for France, is saying farewell to his sister Ophelia. He
warns her to beware of Hamlet (knowing full well of their
relationship), whom he says is insincere. "For Hamlet and the trifling
of his favour/Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood/sweet not lasting."
Laertes then lectures Ophelia, telling her that Hamlet will say
anything to win her heart. "not permanent, The perfume and the
supplience of a minute, no more." He tells her to hold off, and if
Hamlet still loves her after he has been made King, only then should
she consider mar...
... middle of paper ...
...e other characters more interesting and to give more
analytical information about these characters. (Hamlet in Act 3, Scene
Her role in Act 4, Scene 5 is to shock the audience and add tension
building up to Hamlet and Laertes' swordfight. It is the sheer change
in Ophelia's character from a quiet, passive girl with no
individual thought into a mad, insane lunatic with no regard for the
other characters in this scene that shocks the audience so much.
Although much of what she says in this scene appears at first to make
no sense there is still a great deal of analytical information we get
from her and about her in this scene that we get in no other. This is
because only in this scene does she at last convey her own individual
ideas and feelings. For the first time she shows independent thought.
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