Hamlet And Ophelia Essay Research Paper Ophelia

Hamlet And Ophelia Essay, Research Paper

Ophelia is a beautiful and simple-minded woman, easily molded by the more

powerful opinions and desires of others. The thoughts of her father and her

brother influenced her the most. The love letters from Hamlet also swayed her

opinions and confused her mind. Ophelia wasn?t able to realize herself because

of all the pressures exerted on her to be something she?s not. That weakness

of mind and will, which permitted her obedience to her father and thus destroyed

her hope for Hamlet?s love, finally resulted in her insanity and death. When

her father had challenged the honor of Hamlet?s intentions, Ophelia could only

reply "I do not know, my lord, what I should think" (III, iii). Used

to relying upon her father?s direction and brought up to be obedient, she can

only accept her father?s belief, seconded by that of her brother, that

Hamlet?s "holy vows" of love were simply designed for her seduction.

She was to obey her father?s orders not to permit Hamlet to see her again. Her

father also wanted to prove Hamlet?s madness to the king. He used Ophelia as

bait so he and the king could listen to Hamlet?s words. Ophelia willingly

obliged to her father?s desires. By not thinking for herself and only doing as

her father wished, she ruined her chances of love with Hamlet. Hamlet put

pressure on Ophelia by expecting her to surpass his mother?s shortcomings and

be an epitome of womankind. He searched her innocent face for some sign of

loving truth that might restore his faith in her. He took her mute terror for a

sign of her guilt and found her to be a false person, like his mother. In his

letter to her, he addressed the letter to "the most beautified

Ophelia" and he terminated the letter with "I love thee best, O most

best, believe it" (II, ii). He used the word "beautified" to

display a sincere tribute, and it is apparent he still loves her. His attempts

to win her affection are not triumphant. Ophelia is still too much under the

influence of her father to question his wisdom or authority, and she has no mind

of her own to understand how much she has made her lover suffer. No matter how

much it pained her to not see Hamlet, all she could see in his present behavior

is the madness that terrified her. Ophelia?s insanity was a mixture of love

and hate caused by her father and Hamlet. An example of hate is when she sings

about a "baker’s daughter"(IV, v). Ophelia is referring to the way her

father used to treat her before the tragic incident of his death. The love

within her madness is when she speaks about the events on "Valentine?s

Day"(IV, v). When Ophelia speaks about Valentines Day she is referring to

the events of romance that she was denied. Ophelia?s madness is brought on by

her lack of being able to demonstrate any maturity in trying to cope with her

losses and in return can only inflict her madness on the court. Abused by her

lover, and bereft of her father?s protection she loses control of her mind. In

her insane state she came to believe that the seduction her family tried so hard

to protect her from has passed. Her father?s admission of error might have

embittered a more independent Ophelia. This explains Hamlets rejection of her.

Being tormented of scenes of death and the burial, she reaches out to the beauty

of hanging flowers in a willow tree and somehow drowns. Ophelia was never able

to understand exactly what Hamlet was suffering from, and in a way he created a

situation for her to relate; death of a father and betrayal by a loved one.

Hamlet managed to rise above insanity and feelings of suicide, but her weaker

spirit could not hold the burden.


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