The Importance Of Ophelia In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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One of Shakespeare’s most finest and well-known plays, Hamlet, was written in England during the Renaissance between 1599 and 1601. It was composed in modern English and portrays a great example of tragedy. It begins with Hamlet, the prince of Denmark who must find a way to avenge his father’s death, but on the other hand, his lover, Ophelia has gone mad. There have been many theories stating that Ophelia’s madness was due to her father’s death and the abandonment of her lover, Hamlet, but there are also evidence proving that there was more to it than just that. Ophelia’s world was like a fairytale. She had everything; her prince charming, her caring brother, and protective father. Although there was no mother figure mentioned in the play, …show more content…
In Act III, Scene I, Hamlet cruelly insults Ophelia in every way possible. He constantly tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery” (Shakespeare 3.1. 121). In Shakespeare’s writing, nunnery was meant as a brothel. Hamlet again tells her to go away, “Go thy ways to a nunnery” (Shakespeare 3.1. 129). And again, “Get thee to a nunnery, go; farewell” (Shakespeare 3.1. 137). He then says, “I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; / God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves an- / other… / I say, we will have no more marriages…” (Shakespeare 3.1. 142-147). Here, Hamlet is talking about how women are two-faced and breaking up with Ophelia. He informs her that there will be no more marriage between the two of them in the future. Ophelia’s response, “O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown! / The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword; / The expectancy and rose of the fair state… / And I, of ladies most deject and wretched, / That suck’d the honey of his music vows, / Now see that noble and most sovereign reason / Like sweet bells jangled and out of tune and harsh; / Blasted with ecstasy: O, woe me, / To have seen what I have seen, see what I see” (Shakespeare 3.1. 150-161). Hamlet has basically abandoned Ophelia in this scene and so she talks about believing in Hamlet’s vows of love. His disregard towards her, has made her more alone and …show more content…
Gertrude explains Ophelia’s death to the King and Laertes, “... Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide; / And mermaid-like awhile bore her up: / Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes; / As one incapable of her own distress… / Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay / To muddy death” (Shakespeare 4.7. 175-183). Ophelia has fallen from a branch, into the water and drowned. Gertrude describes Ophelia’s death as an accident, but one can say that it was a suicide instead. With so much distress in her life, Ophelia has given up in the world. Two of the people that she loves the most are gone. Her father, who was killed by her lover, has passed away, and her true love, Hamlet will be executed soon. Her world has become so corrupted. Everytime Ophelia had a problem, she would run to her father for help, but since he is not there anymore, it makes her feel helpless and alone. Being a fragile and dependent person she is, it was just too much for her to handle, so she floats in the water letting herself sink to

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