The Character Of Ophelia In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1042 Words 5 Pages
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is, without question, one of Shakespeare 's most tragic and dramatic plays. Although the play is centered around a single, precise conflict, it is filled with uncertainties relating to the developing disputes behind the main plot. The audience is left with many questions regarding the true feelings of Ophelia. One of these questions in particular is, what caused Ophelia to lose her mind and, in turn, kill herself? Was she simply driven mad by her love for Prince Hamlet or was she a victim of a society that had created unfair and unmanageable expectations for its women? This dispute can be argued and supported either way, however the evidentiary support that Shakespeare provides in Hamlet informs …show more content…
He yells at her to “Get thee to a nunnery” (Ham.3.1.123) and asserts it five more times throughout this scene of the play. Hamlet’s statement suggests that Ophelia is no better than a common whore. When he meets her in the hallway and enquires about her father’s location, he knows that she cannot, truthfully, answer him. Hamlet knows Polonius is nearby, listening, but that Ophelia cannot disclose his whereabouts. Ophelia responds shakily, "At home, my lord," (Ham.3.1.132), and her answer throws Hamlet into a blind rage because she has answered dishonestly. He has manipulated her, though. Ophelia is presented no choice but to say that her father is at home; she is forced to lie and thereby to suffer Hamlet 's condemnation. This reaction from Hamlet gives Ophelia no choice but to seek aid from a higher being, she begs, “O, help him, you sweet heavens!” (Ham.3.1.135). She is at a loss for how to help him, but what Ophelia should have been concerned with is helping herself. Because she has, once again, allowed herself to be subjected to the unforgiving expectations of a man. Her mental state is further deteriorated by this horrid accusation of being a sinful, unfaithful whore. Ophelia is pushed closer to her breaking point by Prince Hamlet’s hurtful allegations and his taking of yet another choice out of her hands by forcing her into a lie because of a situation that her father forced her

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