When Hamlet confronts Ophelia with his suspicions that she has been sleeping with Polonius, her father, she breaks down in tears. Hamlet tells her that he never loved her and only pretended to do so in order to get close to her father. Ophelia reacts to this news by retreating further into herself. She stops eating and drinking, and eventually goes insane.
Some scholars have argued that Hamlet is actually responsible for Ophelia’s mental state, accusing him of psychological abuse. Others argue that Hamlet is not responsible at all, and that Ophelia’s breakdown was due to a combination of factors including the stress of Hamlet’s accusations, her father’s death, and the general instability of the Danish court.
No one can know for sure what caused Ophelia’s breakdown, but her character is a fascinating example of the ways in which mental illness can manifest itself. Despite her tragic end, Ophelia remains an important figure in Hamlet and in Shakespearean literature as a whole.
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet contains a variety of “outsider” characters. The obvious choices here are Claudius and Hamlet, both of whom appear to be free from moral constraints. While this may seem true, Ophelia is the actual alienated outsider in the play. Both Claudius and Hamlet are too firmly entrenched in other people’s affairs to be considered ultimate detached outsiders.
Hamlet barely speaks to her and Gertrude blatantly uses her. Ophelia is often functioning in a role where she is both visible and invisible. There are moments when Hamlet seems to glimpse something profound about her, but these insights are usually obscured by his anger and frustration.
Hamlet accuses Ophelia of being a “nunnery” and a “bawd”, which suggests that he views her as an enigmatic figure who is simultaneously sexual and chaste. In Act 3 Scene 1, Hamlet tells Horatio that “the fair Ophelia / Whom we saw sweeting, the flowers of the field, / To put a garland on her head, and present / Her with a paper, wherein was writ, / ‘For the fair Hamlet’s sake, let Ophelia live.
She is also unable to keep up with the stringent and conflicting demands placed on her. Hamlet, on the other hand, views Ophelia as a tainted and sexual object, whilst Polonius and Laertes wish her to be a goddess of innocence and purity. These unreachable objectives put pressure on Ophelia. Not allowed or given any proper outlet for her feelings, Ophelia deteriorates into madness when she is eventually set free from any external ties. Her insanity, on the other hand, only makes her more estranged from others.
Hamlet, in particular, is repulsed by her state and sees her as a liability. Ophelia’s death is ultimately brought about by Hamlet’s rejection and lack of concern for her.” Ophelia is one of the most important characters in Hamlet. She is Hamlet’s love interest and plays an important role in his decisions. Ophelia must deal with the conflict between the expectations of others and what she wants for herself.
She is constantly trying to please Polonius and Laertes, while also trying to gain Hamlet’s approval. However, Hamlet often says things that are confusing and contradictory. Ophelia can’t figure out what he really wants from her so she turns to Hamlet’s friend, Horatio, for guidance.
Ophelia is also under a lot of pressure to be a perfect woman. Polonius and Laertes expect her to be an innocent virgin, but Hamlet sees her as a sexual object. Hamlet’s views are not fair to Ophelia, but she is still trying to figure out who she is. When Hamlet rejects her, it causes her to break down mentally. She starts seeing things that aren’t there and eventually drowns herself. Hamlet’s rejection leads to her death, which shows how important he is in her life.
When Ophelia’s efforts to meet impossible expectations are repeatedly thwarted and she is dismissed and isolated throughout the play, it becomes apparent that she is the most qualified “outsider” in Hamlet. While others shun her, Ophelia is also unjustly worshipped, which on some levels is equally dehumanizing and damaging. Ophelia serves as an important symbol in the play because of her innocence and purity.
Hamlet is often credited as one of Shakespeare’s most complex and interesting characters, but Ophelia is often overlooked. In Hamlet, Ophelia is used as a symbol to explore different themes such as society’s expectations of women, the dangers of isolation, and the effects of loss.
Hamlet is first introduced to us through Ophelia’s perspective. She reports to Gertrude that Hamlet seems “mad” and she is worried for him. Ophelia is Hamlet’s love interest and we see their relationship develop throughout the play. However, Hamlet often dismisses her and his words towards her are often quite cruel. For example, in Act 3, Scene 1, Hamlet tells her “Get thee to a nunnery” which can be interpreted as telling her to go away and stop bothering him.
Despite Hamlet’s mistreatment of her, Ophelia still loves him and tries to please him. In Act 4, Scene 5, she sings a song called “The Willow Song” in which she expresses her sadness over Hamlet’s departure and her desire to join him in death.
Near the end of the play, Ophelia is confronted by Hamlet and Laertes. Hamlet accuses her of being involved in his father’s murder and Laertes starts to attack her. Ophelia goes crazy and drowns in a river.
Even though Ophelia is not a major character, she is still important in exploring different themes in Hamlet. She represents the ideal of purity and innocence that many of the other characters lack. Hamlet often mistreats her, but this may be due to the fact that he is afraid of his own feelings for her. Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia also reflects the way society treats women. Women are often dismissed and ignored and it is difficult for them to speak up for themselves.
Ophelia’s death also symbolizes the dangers of isolation. When she is confronted by Hamlet and Laertes, she doesn’t know how to respond and she starts to go crazy. This may be due to the fact that she has been isolated for most of the play. Her death also represents the dangers of losing touch with reality.
Hamlet is a complex and interesting play and Ophelia is an important character in exploring different themes. She represents the ideal of purity and innocence and Hamlet’s mistreatment of her reflects the way society treats women. Ophelia’s death also symbolizes the dangers of isolation and losing touch with reality.