Opehlia Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet/Ophelia True Love Betrayed I would have to strongly disagree with Nicole’s interpretation
of Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship. They were most certainly
lovers. Halmlet did without question offer Ophelia “tenders”
of his affection, and we know this because she must return
them to Hamlet. In addition, we also have the letter read
from Polonius to Claudius and Gertrude in which Hamnlet writes
to Ophelia I did love thee once. So indeed, Hamlet did love
Ophelia, and evidence is also in the play that she did love
the prince. When Laertes tells Ophelia to beware of Hamlet’s
love, she does not deny her love for Hamlet but responds that
yes she will be careful. As for the song, no part of
any of Shakespeare’s plays is ever thrown in simply because
it was popular at the time. When Ophelia sings that sing
in her mentally disturbed state she is revealing the nature
of her relationship to Hamlet and his promises of love.
The question now becomes, who is to blame for the
relationship’s demise. Many blame Hamlet for being too hard
on Ophelia, but her treatment and the “Get thee to a nunnery”
speech is, in a certain sense, justified. Hamlet’s entire
world is collapsing around him. His uncle has killed Hamlet’s
father. His mother may have been a co-conspirator in King
Hamlet’s death(though there is no definitive proof) and, at
the very least, she has married her husband’s murderer. Hamlet
has been betrayed by his close friend’s Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern. Everyone special to Hamlet has betrayed him.
Ophelia has broken off their relationship because her father
Polonius, forced her to, and we can guess that Hamlet knows
that may be the case because shortly before the “get thee to
a nunnery speech” he refuses to take his “tenders” back. He
still loves her. But when he asks “Where is your father” and
Ophelia replies “At home” he knows that now, she too, has
betrayed him. We do not feel bad when Hamlet exacts his
revenge or chastises the other that be tray him, so why do
we blame him when he chastises Ophelia as a result of her
betrayal. Some criticism exists that compares Ophelia’s
betrayal to prostituion, and this may account for our
discomfort with regard to Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia, not
because we forgive her “prostitute-like” act but because
she becomes a pawn in Polonius’s little game to earn the
king’s favor. We cannot exonerate her betrayal because
being honest is possible for her, but we can mitigate it
because her father is the one who “pimped” her if we want to
continue using the prostitution motif.
Ultimately, I do believe that Hamlet and Ophelia were true
lovers. Even the bumbling Polonius admits that Hamlet’s love
may have been truer that even he believed. Finally, the
truness of this love is what makes Ophelia’s betrayal of
Hamlet so poignant and Branagh did a marvelous job
capturing the painfulness of that betrayal.
Ophelia: Daughter of Polonius and love interest of Hamlet. When Hamlet rejects her and eventually kills her father, Ophelia goes mad. She drowns herself in this state. Her death is used by Claudius to enlist the help of her brother in the murder of Hamlet.
Hamlet Elaine Showalter defines Ophelia in many typical ways in her essay “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” She discusses her significance in reference to how she reveals Hamlet’s characteristics. Showalter touches upon the idea that Ophelia’s character is one that is symbolic of the psychiatric theories of Freud. Showalter also attributes the characterization of Ophelia to not only the audience, but also to the actress that plays the part.
Sweet and innocent, faithful and obedient, Ophelia is the truly tragic figure in William Shakespeare?s Hamlet. Her nature invites us to pity her misfortune caused not by any of her own self-initiated deeds or strategies. Laertes tells us convincingly how young and vulnerable Ophelia is, (act I. iii.10) likening her budding womanhood?s destruction from Hamlet to a process as ?the canker galls the infants of the spring,/ Too oft before their buttons be disclosed, /And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
Another significant female character is Ophelia, Hamlet’s love. Hamlet’s quest for revenge interferes with his relationship with Ophelia. There is much evidence to show that Hamlet loved her a great deal, but his pretense of madness drove her to her death. Ophelia drowned not knowing what was happening to her. This can be deduced by the fact that she flowed down the river singing and happy when in truth she was heartbroken. Ophelia was very much afraid when she saw Hamlet “with his doublet all unbraced; No hat upon his head; his stockings foul’d, Ungarter’d, and down-gyved to his ancle” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). She described him as being “loosed out of hell” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). In addition to that he scared her when he left the room with his eyes still fixed on her. She is especially hurt when Hamlet tells her that he no longer loves her and that he is opposed to marriage. He advises her to go to a nunnery and avoid marriage if she can. “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go: farewell” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). Hamlet says, “I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers Could not, with all their quantity of love, Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). His true love for her caused him to stand up to Laertes and fight for her. He is willing to be buried with her in the grave as well.
Love, control over action, and the ability to overcome depression are just a few ways to prove maturity. It is obvious Hamlet loves Ophelia in his own way ?. . . the celestial and my soul?s idol, the most beautified Ophelia . .