Hamlet - Ophelia- "Discuss How the Construction of a Character Communicates the Attitudes and Values in Hamlet."

1261 Words Aug 22nd, 2011 6 Pages
Literature Essay- Discuss how the construction of a character communicates the attitudes and values in Hamlet.

The ideas and attitudes towards women have changed very much during the recent times, in fact it is a very modern idea that a woman is free from the control of the men around her; that she is able to make her own decision about where to work, where to live, whom to marry or even to not marry at all. It is only recent that a woman is considered an equal to the males in the community, that women are strong enough to handle the stresses that a man has to go through. The construction of the character Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet reveals that she is nothing like the modern woman, instead her character construction communicates
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Another attitude that was held about women during the time of Hamlet is that because female gender were so weak and so unable to stand up on their own they were easy to manipulate, and some might go as far to say that they were made for man to use as was his will. Ophelia is used on numerous occasions during Hamlet, the audience is obviously well aware of Ophelia’s feelings toward Hamlet when she tells Polonius “My lord he hath importuned me with love/ In honorable fashion” then however Polonius tells Ophelia to deny the prince, to “be something of scanter of your maiden presence.” Because his promises are only to be broken, “Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers,” and he sees after Ophelia as only an object of lust, Hamlet’s promises are “mere implorations of unholy suits”. And to all of this, against her own belief as she earlier said “He has my lord of late made many tenders/Of his affection to me”, but instead of standing up for those beliefs she lets herself be manipulated, and replies to her father “I shall obey, my lord.” Another example of the manipulation of Ophelia is when she is sent to speak to Hamlet, but lets her father and the king spy on them as she does so. “Polonius: Ophelia you walk here.-

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