Literature claimed Ophelia as the “tragic heroine” of Hamlet. “To overcome the adversities inflicted upon her -- but she instead crumbles into insanity, becoming merely tragic.” (Mabillard) How did such a delicate a maiden as Ophelia become so tragic? One student’s published analysis claims Ophelia’s situation is much like the one in John Tucker Must Die: A girl falls for a boy at the worst possible moment. Ophelia’s feelings for Hamlet grew without control. It was the wrong time but she did not know it. (Robins)
Ophelia is introduced as young and naïve in the beginning of the play. She is a lady for all intents and purposes, but her father does not allow her into the affairs of the court. During this time period, society was strictly patriarchal, which meant Ophelia was an obedient and loving child, who respected her father’s wished and did as she was told. Polonius and Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, kept Ophelia very sheltered, but strictly out of love for her. Because of this, Ophelia was told to stay away from Hamlet. Her father and brother convinced her that Hamlet was using her as a harlot rather than a potential wife. Men of Hamlet’s nobility (esp...
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...et jumps into the grave with Laertes and fights with him over Ophelia’s love until they are both pulled from the ground.
In the end, Hamlet and Ophelia really did love each other. But because of Hamlet’s drive to avenge his father’s death, and Ophelia’s will to obey her father, the two died in grief, along with the rest of Hamlet’s family. This play portrays the tragedy of death and how revenge does not end well. In fact it shows how revenge can lead to insanity and disturbance in the natural order. It causes anger and hate, something that is uncontrollable. Ophelia’s death shows how cruel revenge is and how one cannot realize whom their actions affect. Ophelia’s innocence gave a clear relationship to the theme of the play: mortality. Her death signifies how even the most naïve and delicate of situations can be affected by the horrors of death, revenge, and murder.
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