Essay about Ophelia as a Sexual Woman in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1199 Words 5 Pages
Ophelia as a Sexual Woman in Shakespeare's Hamlet

In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, it is possible for the audience or reader to come to view Ophelia as an innocent victim trapped in the most tragic circumstances. She was an obedient and loving daughter to her father Polonius. Ophelia obeyed him, when he ordered her to stop seeing Hamlet, her love, and even when she was asked to betray her love, acting as a decoy to allow the King and Polonius to discover the source of Hamlet's grief. Her naive nature is evident in this love that she has for Hamlet, even though he promised to marry her, took her virginity, mistreated her, and finally left her. Her young age and motherless upbringing left Ophelia completely unprepared for a
…show more content…
Ophelia enters and speaks of love, betrayal, and her father's death through song, verse and finally prose. She exits, just before her brother, Laertes, arrives. There is a great deal of commotion because the commoners are outside demanding Laertes be made king. Laertes storms in to confront
Claudius, the King, and accuse him of murdering Polonius. Laertes is cut off by the entrance of the mad Ophelia. She speaks somewhat nonsensically about herbs and flowers. She mentions rosemary, pansies, fennel, rue, and a daisy. Ophelia informs
Laertes that all the violets withered at the time of her father's death. This only angers
Laertes more, and the scene ends with the King promising to prove his innocence to
Laertes.
Shakespeare's word choice for Ophelia in this scene helps the viewer to perceive her madness. Ophelia has suddenly become an outspoken and honest critic as opposed to the shy daughter of Polonius. She is no longer restrained by the conventions of normal speech and social constraints. She requests that the Queen "mark" her words which are surprisingly filled with great beauty and insight. However, Gertrude does not heed her warning, perceiving Ophelia as mad beyond all comprehension. Upon entering, Ophelia immediately begins speaking of her inability to distinguish between true love and lust in regard to Hamlet. She sings, "How should I your true love now from another one? By his cockle hat and staff, And his sandle

Related Documents