The Tragedy Of Ophelia By William Shakespeare Essay

The Tragedy Of Ophelia By William Shakespeare Essay

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The tragedy Hamlet, one of the most renown Shakespearean shows, displays an impressive amount of ambiguity. The show is well loved by many because the ambiguity allows people to relate to Hamlet in ways not often seen in literature. One of the biggest ambiguities in the tragedy has to do with Hamlet’s love interest, Ophelia. At the beginning of the show it is revealed that Ophelia is receiving love letters from Hamlet and is advised by her father not to reciprocate as Hamlet is far above her station and could easily break her heart and ruin her reputation. Later we see Ophelia play the role of the spy and check up on Hamlet under the orders of Claudius and her father. Finally, after the death of her father, we see Ophelia break. She is considered mad by the rest of the characters and towards the end of the show the her funeral and it is explained that she drowned. From this it is often assumed that Ophelia committed suicide due to her madness but I’m not positive that she did. In fact, I’m not positive that Ophelia is actually mad as the characters perceive. After reading Hamlet and finding that the main character himself faked madness, it can be deduced that Ophelia indeed faked madness to speak her opinions and feelings.
Many believe that Ophelia’s madness stems from the patriarchy that she is subjected too, namely Hamlet, her father, Laertes, and even King Claudius. Ophelia is first ordered by Laertes to be careful around Hamlet with the reasoning that “he is subject to his birth” (citation) explaining that Hamlet may have to marry above his station or marry someone to resolve tensions between kingdoms rather than marry Ophelia. Next Ophelia is commanded by her father Polonius in the same scene to reject Hamlet’s advances beca...

... middle of paper ...

... under the safety of madness.
All and all it is easy to see that Ophelia is a greatly misunderstood character. She is a prime example of her times in that she adheres to society’s demands of her. Ophelia remains a perfect daughter, sister, and lover until she cannot take it anymore. Shakespeare speaks out against the wrongs of society towards women through Ophelia. He uses her to speak out for women, and uses the motif of madness to display how wrongly Ophelia, and women like her, are being mistreated. If it is concluded that Ophelia is sane, there are many new questions raised like did Ophelia still commit suicide if she wasn’t mad, who killed Ophelia if it wasn’t suicide? Overall, Ophelia’s madness was a way for her to speak out against the wrongs done to her. In the end it showed her rebellion against society and her value as a person, even though she’s a woman.

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