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Ophelias Madness

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We see that Hamlet treatment of Ophelia because of this may be thestraw-that-breaks-the-camel 's-back with respect to the pressure he puts onOphelia. Ophelia will become increasingly despondent and mad in thewake of Hamlet 's rejection of her. In this sense,Ophelia is treated like an object by her family who strives to keep the manshe loves and that loves her away from her. Used bythe King, her father and brother, and abandoned by Hamlet; these externalpressures combine to cause Ophelia 's bizarre madness and, ultimately, hersuicide. However, to win favorwith Claudius he uses her to spy on Hamlet so she can report his every wordor deed to him. Hefeigns madness and acts extremely cold and harsh with Ophelia. "Reading Ophelia 's Madness." In Patrick Cheney, ed. The death of her father atthe hands of the man she loves, complete rejection by the man she loves andthe pressures on her conspire to cause Ophelia to ultimately take her life. Adding to Ophelia 's pressures with respect to patriarchal controland domination is the plot of King Claudius and Polonius. He further berates her andtells her she should to a nunnery and refuse to bear children. Though Ophelia may betray Hamlet unwittingly and he may unwittinglyadd to the intense pressures on her in his anger at others, her madness isapparent as she sings nonsensical songs, "They bore him barefaced on thebier / Hey non nony, nony, hey nony / And in his grave rained many a tear -/ Fare you well my dove" (Shakespeare IV.v.164-167). Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. This strain is increased tenfold when Hamlet begins to treat herpoorly, because he knows he is being set up by Polonius and the King. Body Despite knowing Hamlet is in love with her, Ophelia is subjected toenormous pressure from her father and brother to be wary of men. This creates a great strain on Ophelia for she lovesHamlet. Not only 'occasions ' are informing against Hamlet;Claudius and Polonius are conspiring against him too, and Ophelia,wittingly or not, is part of the conspiracy." In this way Ophelia becomesa woman who betrays Hamlet as surely as his mother betrayed his father. Hamlet is dismayed by women, thinking them vein, fickletemptresses in the wake of his discovery his mother has married the unclewho killed his father. Hamlet. This really begins to havea damaging psychological effect on Ophelia, because in order to succumb tothe pressure put upon her by her father she must deal with the pressure ofspying on Hamlet ands tolerating the harsh words of the man she lovesdirected toward her. He tellsher father she should not have children: "Let her not walk I ' the sun '; /conception if a blessing / but not as your daughter / may conceive: ---friend look to 't" (Shakespeare II.ii.198-2 ). "Shakespeare 's Hamlet." Explicator, 61(3), Spring 2 3, 13 -131. As literary critic Daniel Shapiro (12 ) writes, "InAct III of Hamlet Polonius sets out Ophelia as bait for Hamlet - 'looses 'her on him, as he says. 16 1. Conclusion It is clear that Ophelia lived during a time when patriarchalcontrol and manipulation of women was a powerful social force. Despitetheir own manipulative treatment of her, they caution her against the wilesof the male sex. EvenKing Claudius is complicit in adding to the external pressures on Opheliain the play, when he conspires to setup Hamlet with her father by using heras the means. Living in both a corrupt and patriarchal world,Ophelia represents little more than a tool that is manipulated to suit theaims and desires of her father Polonius, brother Laertes, and Hamlet. He is also disillusioned by women because he knowshe cannot trust Ophelia so long as she is the puppet of Polonius who isalways trying to win favor with the king. Despite being used by the men in her environment and facing incrediblepressure to betray the man she loves, Ophelia goes to her grave stillloving all three. Press, 2 8.Shakespeare, William. October 28, 2 9 http://www.online- literature.com/shakespeare/hamlet/Shapiro, Daniel. However, when Polonius wants to know if Hamlet has been harsh withOphelia in any manner, we see she loves him and he has treated her well:"No, my good lord; but, as you did command / I did repel his fetters, anddenied / His access to me" (Shakespeare II.i.119-121). Shakespeare 's Literary Authorship. He coldlyinstructs her: "Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a / breeder ofsinners? I am myself indifferent honest; / but yet I could accuse me ofsuch things that it / were better my mother had not borne me" (ShakespeareIII.i.132-135). Because ofthis, she is used by the men in her environment in ways that createenormous pressure on her where romance, loyalty and love are concerned.Torn between love of her family and love or Hamlet and used by her familyand abandoned by Hamlet, Ophelia cannot stand the pain of living any longerand kills herself.Works CitedDane, Gabrielle. We see this when she says she would give the Queen someviolets in memory or her father but they are all dead and when she offersrosemary "for remembrance" of her brother Laertes (Shakespeare IV.v.174).Ophelia comes to peace with these men and then kills herself. Because of this, he paints atainted view of the female sex to Ophelia. 86 Ophelia 's Introduction Ophelia 's suicide in William Shakespeare 's tragedy Hamlet arises fora number of reasons. For these reasons, Ophelia 's death represents the outwardmanifestation of something else that is rotten in Denmark, the manipulativetreatment and objectification of women in a patriarchal society. Polonius haslonged meddled in the love life of his daughter. In this sense, Ophelia 's madness isan outward symptom or sign of something else that is rotten in Denmark,patriarchal control and manipulation of women. Both Polonius and Laertes lecture her about the "dangers"of men. In "Reading Ophelia 'sMadness," feminist critic Gabrielle Dane locates Ophelia 's songs "withinthe context of Renaissance attitudes toward female madness as a signaldisorder of patriarchy" (Cheney 221).

Cited: ane, Gabrielle. We see this when she says she would give the Queen someviolets in memory or her father but they are all dead and when she offersrosemary "for remembrance" of her brother Laertes (Shakespeare IV.v.174).Ophelia comes to peace with these men and then kills herself. Because of this, he paints atainted view of the female sex to Ophelia. 86 Ophelia 's Introduction Ophelia 's suicide in William Shakespeare 's tragedy Hamlet arises fora number of reasons. For these reasons, Ophelia 's death represents the outwardmanifestation of something else that is rotten in Denmark, the manipulativetreatment and objectification of women in a patriarchal society. Polonius haslonged meddled in the love life of his daughter. In this sense, Ophelia 's madness isan outward symptom or sign of something else that is rotten in Denmark,patriarchal control and manipulation of women. Both Polonius and Laertes lecture her about the "dangers"of men. In "Reading Ophelia 'sMadness," feminist critic Gabrielle Dane locates Ophelia 's songs "withinthe context of Renaissance attitudes toward female madness as a signaldisorder of patriarchy" (Cheney 221).

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