Ophelias Role In Hamlet Essay Prompts

Ophelia is Laerte's sister, Polonius' daughter, and Hamlet's love interest. In this position, she is forced to choose between a father and a brother who warn her that Hamlet's interest is merely sexual, and her own heart, which through inexperience and youth, tells her Hamlet's love was, at least once, pure.

She is, above all else, an obedient daughter, therefore, she chooses to listen to and obey her father, who has warned against having any...

Ophelia is Laerte's sister, Polonius' daughter, and Hamlet's love interest. In this position, she is forced to choose between a father and a brother who warn her that Hamlet's interest is merely sexual, and her own heart, which through inexperience and youth, tells her Hamlet's love was, at least once, pure.

She is, above all else, an obedient daughter, therefore, she chooses to listen to and obey her father, who has warned against having any contact at all with Hamlet. She reveals her choice when she lies to Hamlet, saying her father is at home, when, in fact, Polonius is hiding behind a curtain spying.

Much has been surmised by the somewhat secondary and certainly static character of Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. She is often looked at as a tragic character, who is a picture of innocence and purity, but due to her weakness (sometimes noted as feminine weakness and nothing more) she crumbles into insanity and ultimately kills herself. First, she is utterly devoted to her father and brother as she is growing up without her mother. However, she also wishes to be devoted to Hamlet, a man she believes loves her. The pendulum swings wide in this analysis. On one extreme, Ophelia is meant to represent women not only as weak, but blindly obedient and easily manipulated and dominated by men. But on the other extreme, she is simply innocent, pure, and a victim of circumstances she could neither control, nor hope to be equipped to handle.

Another perspective is that Ophelia is merely a secondary character whose purpose is to enhance the audience's understanding of Hamlet. Through Ophelia, Hamlet's increasingly warped view of women is revealed. He has been betrayed by his own mother, and struggles with this throughout the play. His rage against his mother is then taken out on Ophelia, which is interpreted by many as "madness." The idea that Ophelia's character is meant to be secondary is furthered by the fact that her suicide is only spoken of, as in, it never happens on stage. Further, in the scenes following, Hamlet never reveals any sadness or remorse over it. She is gone and quickly forgotten.

The Role of Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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The Role of Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Although Ophelia is not a main character in the revenge tragedy 'Hamlet' her dramatic purpose is vital to the play. It emphasizes the poisoned body politic and its affects on the innocent.

The role of women in the sixteenth century is to be obedient and dutiful, the only way to accomplish this was to be passive. Women in the sixteenth century were meant to be obedient to their fathers, for they were their property until such a time came when she was married, it would then be her husband to whom her duties lied.

Denmark is in a state of chaos shown by the opening death of the true King Hamlet who was murdered by his own brother Claudius,…show more content…

Hamlet is now believed to be mad, he knows about the murder of his father and the true corruption which rules the state of Denmark.

Claudius suspects Hamlet is aware of his treachery and Polonius advises the King to use Ophelia to find the source of his madness whether it be Ophelia’s refusal to Hamlet or another matter, ‘Ophelia is a card that can be played to take several sorts of tricks’[1]. Polonius’ ambitions are that he can introduce the idea of a marriage between Hamlet and Ophelia, to heighten his social status.

Ophelia’ actions have been purely innocent, when Ophelia is played against Hamlet however, Hamlet can see her corruption he can see how she is beginning to become tainted and warns her “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” He is warning her to either go to a nunnery or fall into the darkness and become a harlot. Ophelia has given in to evil unknowingly and her downward trajectory is beginning.

Hamlet is summoned to his mothers chambers where she wishes to find the cause of his madness, meanwhile Polonius eavesdrops behind an arras only to be killed by Hamlet. Ophelia is now left with no-one to guide her in her rapidly changing life, her father is dead and her brother is away at

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