As many know in the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare the play is dominated by the male role and the need of always being in power and in charge. But as intended by Shakespeare Hamlet is threaded through with many subplots propelling the storyline forward with not only background information but also foreshadowing of the events to come. Given this the audience takes Ophelia at face value as just a character of great misfortune who also grieves at the lost of losing Hamlet as her love. Inside her perceived madness the question is raised of this hysteria is due to a hormonal imbalance resulting from Ophelia carrying Hamlet’s child. This bridges the gap of why she acts so crazy when he rejects her.
Ophelia grieves at the loss of her love Hamlet by singing songs whenever she is around people but what the audience fails to realize there is a deeper meaning to the songs.
Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose and donned his clothes
And dupped the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more. (4.5 53-60)
When Ophelia sings she is referencing to her and her relationship with Hamlet of how she was a maiden then Hamlet took her maiden hood and then swept her out as if nothing had happened. Given this it is understandable why she is so upset over being put out because she felt used with nothing for her in return but a damaged reputation. Which in her case is a very real thing to hide. Many women of the time period were ruined due to pregnancy out of wedlock. So given this it was perfectly understandable why Ophelia would hide she is actually pregnant.
References to Ophelia’s pregnancy by the way Polonius and Laertes talk about the option of her and Hamlet being unwed and never being able to wed him due to his political stature.
There is an almost unnatural manner in the way she is told of this advice to keep her ‘chaste treasure’ and to ‘weigh what loss’ her ‘honor may sustain’. The lengthy discourse that is harped on the innocent girl is more a statement of Ophelia being in danger of becoming natural with her instincts rather than Hamlet forcing himself on her. (Soon)
Even with this it hints at her already giving into natural instincts to quickly and suffering the consequences now. Ophelia’s father and brother have had their share in the spoliation of her mind’s purity and her child-like trust. Once more, this further supports the argument of how it is those who surround Ophelia that corrupt her and in some ways “pressure” her into pregnancy.
Ophelia also in her many songs of morning have mention
Quoth she, ‘Before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.’
‘So would I’a done, by yonder sun,
And thou hadst not come to my bed.’(4.5 64-8)
Here she implies her relationship to Hamlet and how she blames him for having sex with her before marriage and then not keeping his promise to wed her to save her reputation....