Ophelia; a Rose Without Thorns?

Topics: Hamlet, Gertrude, Characters in Hamlet Pages: 4 (1402 words) Published: December 16, 2008
Ophelia; a Rose? Shakespeare writes of a strong and wilful woman in the story of Romeo and Juliette. Juliette, the leading woman in this play, was torn from her lover, Romeo, but rather than standing back and accepting the inevitable, she fights for what she believes to be right. Even though her life ended tragically, she was still admired for finally getting what she wants. She said she would not, and could not live without Romeo, and she did not back down from her strong objective. In contrast, the love interest of Hamlet, Ophelia, goes through a similar situation when Hamlet comes to her and tells her they cannot be together, as well, Ophelia’s father Polonius and brother Laertes had forbidden the relationship. Ophelia loved Hamlet, just as Juliette loved Romeo, yet Ophelia did nothing to stop her separation from him. This is because the character of Ophelia is not fully developed as she lacks personal thoughts or opinions. Hamlet, as well as Polonius uses Ophelia as a prop in order to appeal their emotions to others. Hamlet uses her to show his parents he has gone insane. Polonius, on the other hand, uses her to become closer to the King and Queen by being the reason for Hamlets insanity. Ophelia’s main purpose is to reflect the other characters. She demonstrates through her actions how they affect the people around them, and how they were before the play began. Shakespeare, as a playwright, uses her effectively in parallels and contrasts with other characters, and uses her strictly as a plot developer. James Patrick Kelly, who wrote You and Your Characters, describes a flat character as ‘someone who is characterized by one or two traits.’ Being able to explain the extent of Ophelia by labeling her as weak and obedient demonstrates that she is a flat character in accordance to Kelly’s definition. In 1.3 Laertes gives his sister, Ophelia, advice regarding whom she should be in a sexual relationship with and her willingness to follow his commands demonstrates...
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