Ophelia: Character Analysis

Topics: Marriage, Characters in Hamlet, Family, Gertrude, Hamlet / Pages: 2 (432 words) / Published: Dec 14th, 2012
Ophelia: Character analysis

Ophelia, a young beautiful woman, is known to be the young daughter of Polonius, sister to

Laertes, and Love interest to Hamlet. In the play, Ophelia is stuck between her obedience to her

father and her love for Hamlet, which seems to possess some tragic consequences.

Ophelia is the archetypal obedient daughter, a role required to be played by all young

women in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. When her father orders her to quit on the

relationship that she shares with Hamlet, she obeys. “No, my good lord, but, as you did

command, I did repel his fetters and denied His access to me.” (Act II scene 1). As some time

passes, Polonius utilizes the bait that is her daughter to take part in the act of espionage upon

Hamlet for Claudius. She lacks in will but to do as she's told. She must live by her father's rules,

so long as she is unmarried. (Of course, if she were to marry, she'd then be forced to abide by her

husband's rules.) Basically, Ophelia lacks control over her relationships, her body, and her

choices, like an object, or a being who denies her own agency by not fighting for her natural


The dismal filial obedience of Ophelia leaves her open to the accurate accusation made by

Hamlet, who accurately accuses her of being deceptive and questions her faith. (Hamlet learns of

Ophelia’s participation in her father's spying). He accuses her (as well as all women) of being the

"breeder of sinners" and sentences Ophelia to a "nunnery". Hamlet also states that if Ophelia

were to get married, she would turn her husband into a "monster" because she would more than

likely cheat on this man. Ophelia is baffled by Hamlet's understandable actions, especially when

he states, he loved her not. Hamlet once spoke to Ophelia in "words of so sweet breath

composed" appears to have gone crazy and turned against Ophelia:

And I, of

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