Character Analysis of Ophelia
Ophelia is a simply depicted character whose main plot functions are to be Hamlet's long-standing girlfriend and to suffer greatly and eventually die because of the corruption in Denmark. The daughter of Polonius and brother of Laertes, she is a soft-spoken and beautiful female. She is also an obedient and tender-hearted young lady who willingly obeys her father even when it means being separated from Hamlet, her true love. Ophelia is characterized by simplicity, innocence, faithfulness, honesty, and a total lack of deceit. Her purity is symbolized by flowers, especially by the violets that are so much a part of her being. Ophelia is portrayed as a weak character. Although her love for Hamlet is genuine and absolute, when her father and brother demand that she separate herself from Hamlet, she does not have the strength of character to stand up to them. In turn, she becomes a helpless pawn, used by her foolish father and the scheming Claudius to test the truthfulness of Hamlet's madness. When Hamlet speaks rudely to her, she dissolves into tears, unable to control her emotion. After her father's death, she breaks down under the strain and becomes truly mad. She dies, probably through intentional suicide, when she falls into the river and drowns. During her funeral, Hamlet and Laertes clash over their love for her, creating the most dramatic graveyard scene ever written. Ophelia is an important character, despite her one-dimensionality; she represents uncompromised goodness in a cast of compromised people.
A popular quotation by Ophelia
The Primrose path
But, good my brother,
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff' d and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads,
And reaks not his own rede.
Yes, we have Shakespeare to blame for all the confusion between "primrose path" and...
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