Erotomania, Silencing, Reduction To Appearance In Shakespeare's Hamlet Character Analysis

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Just A Pawn:
Erotomania, Silencing, and, Reduction to Appearance in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” Within the five acts of William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, there are only two female characters featured within the text, one of them was a young and impressionable girl named Ophelia who was only present within 5 of the 25 scenes. Most of the text focused on Hamlet and his male counterparts—who make up the patriarchy of the play—strong personalities, struggles, and challenges. However, Ophelia plays the role of the stereotypical naive and overly emotional girl. Ophelia was manipulated and forced in any direction her father, Polonius, wants due to his overbearing sense of patriarchal entitlement. Ophelia lacks a true identity and an opinion, as
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Polonius was always extremely protective of his only daughter. In return, she was equally obedient to her father’s wishes, listening to everything he suggested. In Act 3 scene 1, Hamlet asks Ophelia where her father was and she bluntly lies and says, “At home, my lord” (III.I.130). Hamlet knew she was lying and realized she chose her to obey her father over him. When Polonius, an important guiding light in her existence, disappeared from her life she became overwhelmed with emotions and started to act irrationally, which eventually leads to the label of erotomania being branded upon her like a scarlet letter. In the 1500’s the Elizabethans would have diagnosed Ophelia with female love sickness, or erotomania (Showalter). Erotomania is almost always specifically a female issue because they are more “sensitive” and “emotional” than a man. A male does not have the time or feelings to deal with the loss of a lover in such an irrational way. The fact that Ophelia was a woman to begin with making her undoubtedly more crazy to begin with, but her sudden explosive madness made the idea of erotomania much more realistic. During Ophelia’s insanity, she sang speeches filled with sexual images about her concealed sensual feelings, which she was being stripped of expressing because silencing was present throughout her whole life. The diagnosis of erotomania restricts Ophelia and …show more content…
He exemplifies the idea that Polonius was treating her like an object based on her looks. Just because she was attractive alone made hamlet upset he didn’t have her, nothing based on personality, intelligence, or morals, which clearly demonstrates objectification due to reduction of appearance in Ophelia’s life. William Shakespeare in “Hamlet” uses many feminist objectification literary devices such as erotomania, silencing, and reduction to appearance to show the manipulation and constraint on Ophelia, one of the two female characters used in the play. Without Ophelia, Hamlet still has a story line, but without Hamlet, Polonius, and Laertes, Ophelia was nothing. The dominant men in her life deprived her of her true identity and did not let her express herself, which lead to her own death. She was a pawn dancing around in others lives; meanwhile Ophelia’s own existence was controlled by the patriarchy in her

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