Hamlet is considered to be one of the greatest plays of all time, written by William Shakespeare. One of the subplots of the play is Hamlet’s love for Ophelia, the daughter of one of the King’s top advisors. Their relationship is a little rocky as the play progresses. Hamlet is actually away from Denmark when Ophelia dies. Ophelia’s father had recently been killed by Hamlet in a terrible accident, and she has now gone mad, singing nonsense songs and giving people flowers that she has picked from the garden. The cause of Ophelia’s death has been debated over the years. Did she commit suicide because she was mad, or was her death an accident? Although Ophelia was not entirely sane, details of how she drowned show that her death was an accident. Ophelia’s whole world is shattered after her father dies, because of her previous conflicting loyalties to her father, who had never approved of Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia, and Hamlet now having killed him. After her father’s murder she talks a lot of death, and her madness is apparent when she sings in a completely crazed way: He is dead and gone, lady, /He is dead and gone; /At his head a grass-green turf, /At his heels a stone. White his shroud as the mountain snow–
Landed all with sweet flowers; /Which bewept to the ground did not go/With true-love showers.
(4.5.37-45) Here Ophelia is mourning her father’s death. She’s put in a horrible situation – what things come to mind when someone kills your father? One would think that the conflicting emotions and irrational behavior preceding her death would suggest that she committed suicide. Ophelia’s father had been killed by Hamlet; anyone put in that situation would likely have thoughts of suicide. Ophelia’s actions in the scenes leading up to her death suggest it, but in truth it was caused by a terrible accident. If Ophelia’s intentions were to kill herself, she would likely either poison or stab herself, as they are both quick and easy; drowning is not...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document