Essay On Ophelia's Madness In Hamlet

1901 Words 8 Pages
Throughout the play, Hamlet, Ophelia’s descent into madness progressively increases due to the loss of free will, Hamlet’s rejection, and the guilt over her father’s death. However, Ophelia’s madness and eventual demise inspires Laertes’ revenge and at times projects the true nature of the King and Queen as well as herself. Ophelia is shown to have times of clarity and regret to the way things were handled by herself and others. Ophelia, even in her insanity, is the symbol of innocence. An innocence that leads her to be unable to cope with the tragedies in her life.
Ophelia’s loss of free will originates from the manipulations of her father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes and her own inability to see that she is being used for the mischiefs of others. At first her family seems like a close and caring family, but
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Laertes, as Ophelia, has just lost a father and in his despair he has sworn revenge, but at seeing his sister, his anger intensifies as he states “Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus” (IV.v.169-170). Her insanity leaves her looking like someone who is in need of protection and inspires sympathy and pity from others. Laertes’ unwillingness to face his guilt of not being there for his sister transfigures into blaming others for her insanity. Even after her insanity has driven her to death, Ophelia still has an effect on the ones she left behind. She is the factor that leads to a confrontation between Hamlet and Laertes of who loved her the most even though both of them were contributors of her descent into madness. Here Laertes contemplates Ophelia’s innocence in all that has happened and how she is not to be blamed for succumbing to her insanity and how she was merely a victim of circumstance: A sister driven into desperate terms, Whose worth, if praises may go back

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