Characters in Hamlet and Sister Ophelia

Topics: Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Hamlet Pages: 4 (1534 words) Published: April 3, 2013
Hamlet is a play by William Shakespeare that displays multiple themes and motifs throughout the text. Some main themes are incest and violence. Incest is a key aspect in the play. Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, kills his father and then marries his mother to become King of Denmark. Hamlet shows a great sense of concern for Gertrude, his mother about remarrying and her sex life with Claudius, which is shown when he cries to her and rapes her. Laertes also shows incestuous desire toward Ophelia, speaking with her in sexual terms and then leaping into her grave at her funeral. Violence is clearly a theme, with all the murders and deaths that occur throughout the play. Hamlet likes to act in violent ways at times, and this is definitely evident as the play unfolds. Laertes is ready to leave for school in France when he says his goodbyes to his family. He first talks to his sister Ophelia about Hamlet’s love. Laertes is not too fond oh Hamlet and wants to make sure Ophelia stays away. “His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,/ For he himself is subject to his birth.” (1.3 501-502). Laertes is reminding Ophelia that he is a member of the royal family, and therefore his intentions do not matter much. Laertes is saying that he is a slave to his family’s obligations. Therefore Hamlet might not necessarily love Ophelia, but instead he is forced to love her because of the kingdom’s decision. Laertes continues on: “If with two credent ear you list his songs,/ Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open/ To his unmastered importunity.” (1.3 514-516). He offers the question to Ophelia of how shameful it would be to give in to Hamlet’s love. “Chaste treasure” is referring to Ophelia’s female genitalia. Hamlet is simply greedy for her treasures, so Ophelia cannot surrender to him. This is a great example of sexism because Hamlet does not have to offer his “treasures” but instead is just waiting for Ophelia to do so. If Ophelia does so, they can then have intercourse....
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