Theme Of Struggle And Disillusionment In Hamlet

Improved Essays
Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” explores the universal themes of struggle and disillusionment which enables Hamlet to still be relatable today. Shakespeare highlights these themes through the characterization of Hamlet, who lives in a perpetual state of disillusionment as a result of the events that unfold. Hamlet’s struggle with his own moral code in contrast with his faith which he continues to question throughout the play adds to his disillusionment. Similarly, the character of Ophelia represents the struggle of a 16th century woman who is manipulated by dominant male figures in her life. Therefore Shakespeare’s dramatic treatment of struggle and disillusionment enable the play to endure the test of time.

Throughout the entire play, Hamlet
…show more content…
As a woman in Elizabethan society she is subject to male manipulation and is often used as a pawn throughout the play for the male characters to achieve their aims. As a result of this Ophelia descends into madness. Her manipulation is evident very early in the play as her father, Polonius, discovers her attraction to Hamlet which he orders her to not give him “words or talk”. This emphasizes his efforts to try and protect her from Hamlet’s madness and force Ophelia to obey his orders. Her disillusionment is highlighted in the line “I was the more deceived” Ophelia struggles against the men in the play as they manipulate her for their own interests. Her disillusionment is further highlighted in her relationship with Hamlet. She states “before you tumbled me you promised me to wed.” highlighting her loss of faith in Hamlet and her loss of innocence further portrayed through the symbol of a flower, “I would give you some violets but they withered all when my father died.” The role of women and the condemnation of sexual promiscuity throughout the ages continues to be relevant today as there is still a divide between the roles of men and women, thus, making Ophelia’s struggle a universal

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    This is a huge turning point in the play because this shows how badly she has been affected by him. Hamlet can be in her company and act as if their last talk had never occurred. While Ophelia stays shut off and does not allow herself to be as friendly, for fear of feeling love and hurt all over…

    • 1215 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Misogyny In Hamlet

    • 1032 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Hamlet calls her a bad mother and a whore. Gertrude was scared he was going to kill her, or cause her some sort of harm to her because, he was shouting and getting forceful with her. Hamlet grabs and flings his mother around her bedroom and pulls his sword out on her to scare her. Only pure hatred could drive Hamlet to treat the supposed love of his life and his mother that way. The way that Hamlet treats Ophelia and Gertrude can give the audience insight on how Hamlet may feel about women in general.…

    • 1032 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    The sexist behavior demonstrated caused a strong disliking towards women if they were not obedient. Some women were not given much respect regarding their opinions. Throughout the play, Hamlet is constantly being harsh toward Ophelia and his mother, Gertrude. His views on women were changed after his mother married his dead father’s brother, which he…

    • 1379 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hamlet's Madness

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Polonius realizes Hamlet’s madness, so he believes Hamlet will propose to Ophelia untruthfully. Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, also warns her Hamlet’s love is no longer the same as it once was. All these things combined make Ophelia become mad. She cannot handle the loss of her own father and the loss of Hamlet’s love. As the play continues Ophelia’s madness begins to get increasing worse.…

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Moreover, this paper will discuss how the change of view on women is further developed in the play through Hamlet’s harsh treatment of Ophelia. “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (1.2.146). Hamlet makes this famous speech after knowing Gertrude’s decision of remarrying Claudius who is her brother-in-law soon after her husband’s death. Hamlet is disappointed and disgusted by this incestuous…

    • 951 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This could be observed in Act 3 when she was conversing with Hamlet about their love. Hamlet informs her that he once loved her, and now he does not (3.1.112-115). Her frailty and innocence, revealed through Hamlet’s suspicious attitude, caused her emotional pain throughout the play. She could not cope with the consecutive traumatic events, and when Hamlet killed her father, she became insane. Her insanity was noticed and believed to be a result of pressure and abuse by…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The love story of Hamlet and Ophelia was terribly devastating. These two lovers, who could’ve been together; died in tragedy apart. There were many conflicts and reasons why Hamlet and Ophelia kept growing apart throughout the story. It was mostly because of Hamlet hostility towards Ophelia throughout Act 3. The reasons he acted cruelly to her because of his mother, Gertrude who recently married her brother-in-law Claudius in a short period of time after her husband’s death.…

    • 2156 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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…

    • 1042 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The ambiguities found cannot be defined as what Shakespeare’s plays are “about”; they are merely tools that the poet uses. In Henry V, Shakespeare leads his audience to a state of crisis. This altercation between the two possible interpretations of Henry V suggests a “spiritual struggle in Shakespeare that he would spend the rest of his career working through” (Rabkin 62). This struggle in interpretations is found in the problem plays and tragedies. Shakespeare shares this conflict, and he ultimately brings us down into it as we reflect on the plays and performances that lean one way or the other.…

    • 1222 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    For the majority of the play, Hamlet feels that the wedding between Gertrude and Claudius was a betrayal to him and his father. His anger and frustration that he feels for Gertrude soon starts to affect his relationship with Ophelia because he no longer has any faith in women as he takes on a misogynist perspective. Hamlet unfortunately takes advantage of Ophelia’s obedience toward men as he starts taunting her with cruel words to degrade her mentally. “Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them” (III.i.137-140).…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays