Essay On Ophelia The Innocent Victim In Shakespeare's Hamlet

854 words - 3 pages

Ophelia - The Innocent Victim in Shakespeare's Hamlet  

 
   Poor Ophelia, she lost her lover, her father, her mind, and, posthumously, her brother. Ophelia is the only truly innocent victim in Hamlet. This essay will examine Ophelia's downward spiral from a chaste maiden to nervous wreck.

     From the beginning of the play, in Act I Scene iii, Laertes and Polonius are trying to convince her that Hamlet does not love her and only is interested in her so he can sleep with her. Laertes says "Perhaps he loves you now, ...... His greatness weighed, his will is not his own." He is telling Ophelia that she is likely to have her heart broken because of Hamlet's high birth. He may not be able to choose who he marries, so although he may love Ophelia, he can never marry her because of the difference in their social classes. This cannot have a good effect on Ophelia, her brother telling her that the her relationship with the one she loves is doomed from the start! Polonius tells her "Affection pooh! You speak like a green girl, / Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. / Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?" He means that although Lord Hamlet has been showing many signs of affection to Ophelia, it cannot be real. He is saying that Ophelia is blinded by Hamlet's charm and is inexperienced (Unsifted) in this sort of situation. He goes on later to say that these affections are merely "...springes to catch the woodcocks" (traps to catch stupid little birds.) Why does Ophelia's family find it necessary to bring down her spirits about her relationship with Hamlet? Can't they let her figure it out for herself? This, in my opinion, is a good example of how Ophelia is victimized in this play.

   Later in the play, when Hamlet becomes (or pretends to become) mad, he turns his back on Ophelia either because it is all part of his act, or because his genuine madness is causing him to do so. In Act III scene i, Polonius and the King hide behind Ophelia's curtains and eavesdrop on the conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia. Hamlet goes on to scold Ophelia and accuse her of not being chaste "Ha, ha! Are you honest?" ... "Are you fair?" ... "Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be / a breeder of sinners?" Hamlet goes on to say "...This was sometime a paradox, but now / the time gives it proof. I did love you once." Ophelia replies with "Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so." Her heart must have torn in two when Hamlet came back...

Find Another Essay On Essay on Ophelia - The Innocent Victim in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hamlet, Claudius, and Ophelia)

1561 words - 6 pages Within the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, there are many famous quotes, like the famous, "To be, or not to be: (III, i, 56*)" soliloquy by Hamlet, and also many famous characters that lots of people today recognize without knowing the whole story. The play revolves around the main character, Hamlet, who is trying to get revenge on his uncle who killed his father to become king. Hamlet and his friend, Horatio, are the only ones who know...

Custom Written Essays: Contrasting Gertrude and Ophelia of Shakespeare's Hamlet

2040 words - 8 pages Contrasting the Ladies in Hamlet         How can anyone view or read the Shakespearean tragedy of Hamlet without observing an obvious differentiation between the characters of the two female characters? And yet, not all critics agree on even the most salient features of this contrast.   Quite opposite the criminality of the king’s wife is the innocence of Ophelia – this view is generally expressed among Shakespearean critics....

Essay on the Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet

1009 words - 4 pages The Manipulation of Polonius and Ophelia in Hamlet        The main plot of Shakespeare's Hamlet centers around Prince Hamlet's desire to repay King Claudius for his evil deeds. Around this central action revolve the stories concerning the minor characters of Polonius and Ophelia. Though they do not motivate Hamlet's actions towards the King, these characters act as forces upon Hamlet himself, trying to spur him to do things he does not...

The Impact of Ophelia on Hamlet

2081 words - 8 pages The Impact of Ophelia on Hamlet        Could the Bard of Avon have created a more innocent and obedient young lady in Hamlet than the victimized Ophelia? I think not. Let us discuss the ups and downs of her life in the play.   Michael Pennington in “Ophelia: Madness Her Only Safe Haven,” describes personality traits of the young lady: This is the woman she might have become – warm, tolerant and imaginative. Instead she becomes...

Innocent Murderer: Abigail as Victim in The Crucible

885 words - 4 pages How can a girl who condemned seventy two to a death sentence and drank a charm to kill a man’s wife, a man she has slept with on more than one occasion be the victim? It’s possible when the town she lives in is worse than her. Although Abigail Williams is typically thought of as the antagonist of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, she is in fact a victim as much as any other tragic character in the play. The true antagonist of the play is the town...

Essay on Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1758 words - 7 pages Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Hamlet   The Queen gives a remarkably detailed account of Ophelia’s death leaving one to believe that she may have witnessed the event. We know that she emphasized with Ophelia’s suffering to such an extent that perhaps she realized that the kindest action to take would be to let Ophelia decide her own fate, although she clearly was not in a fit state of mind to do this and was barely aware of her...

The Analysis of the Character Ophelia on Hamlet

1655 words - 7 pages In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia is the most static character in the play. Instead of changing through the course of the play, she remains suffering in the misfortunes perpetrated upon her. She falls into insanity and dies a tragic death. Ophelia has issues surviving without a male influence, and her downfall is when all the men in her life abandon her. Hamlet’s Ophelia, is a tragic, insane character that cannot exist on her own. In...

Shakespeare´s presentation of Ophelia in the world of 'Hamlet'

2093 words - 8 pages Even though Ophelia is not the central character in the play 'Hamlet', she is still an important one. Since Shakespeare wrote the play in the early 1600s, depending on the theatrical performances and director's view, audience's and critics' interpretations of Ophelia have changed dramatically throughout the past 400 years.Shakespeare, in the portrayal of Ophelia shows how men in a strong patriarchal society controlled women in the 1600s. The...

The Protagonist as Victim in Oedipus the King and Hamlet

798 words - 3 pages The Protagonist as Victim in Oedipus the King and Hamlet       In Sophocle's Oedipus the King and William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the unruly forces surrounding the protagonists are the source for their downfall. Fate, women, and divine intervention are the foundation for the protagonists' demise. The protagonists are powerless against these elements, and for that reason, are not responsible for their finish. The uncontrollable force...

The Rage of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

625 words - 3 pages In William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, though the protagonist Hamlet pretends to be mad as he seeks revenge for the murder of his father, he is suffering from depression and a barely contained rage towards the people closest to him as revealed in his treatment of Gertrude and Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Polonius and Claudius. The barely concealed rage he feels towards his mother, lover, friends...

Essay on Mother as Villain and Victim in Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club

1184 words - 5 pages Mother as Villain and Victim in Joy Luck Club       In The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan focuses on several mother-daughter relationships. One of the relationships explored is that between an immigrant Chinese mother and her American born daughter Jing-mei.  The mother expects Jing-mei to be a prodigy child - while pursuing this dream she unintentionally creates a serious conflict between her and her daughter.   To fulfill her unrealistic...

Similar Essays

The Character Of Ophelia In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1197 words - 5 pages The Character of Ophelia in Hamlet      In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the character Ophelia plays an important role in the elaboration of the plot.  In the beginning, she is in a healthy state of mind, in love with Hamlet, yet controlled by her father.  During the play she has several troubling experiences involving Hamlet - causing her to become distressed.  The death of Ophelia's father leaves her mentally unstable and in a state of...

Essay Contrasing Gertrude And Ophelia Of Shakespeare's Hamlet

1884 words - 8 pages Contrast of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet         Queen Gertrude and Ophelia, the main female characters in Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet, have a variety of contrasting or dissimilar personal qualities and experiences. This essay, with the help of literary critics, will explore these differences.   John Dover Wilson in his book, What Happens in Hamlet, discusses what is perhaps the greatest dissimilarity between Ophelia...

Ophelia As A Sexual Woman In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1508 words - 6 pages Ophelia as a Sexual Woman in Shakespeare's Hamlet In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, it is possible for the audience or reader to come to view Ophelia as an innocent victim trapped in the most tragic circumstances. She was an obedient and loving daughter to her father Polonius. Ophelia obeyed him, when he ordered her to stop seeing Hamlet, her love, and even when she was asked to betray her love, acting as a decoy to allow the King and...

Hamlet Shakespeare's Ophelia As Modern Icon

3336 words - 13 pages Hamlet - Shakespeare's Ophelia as Modern Icon Shakespeare's Ophelia is not lacking in attention. As one of Shakespeare's most popular female characters she has enjoyed many appellations from the bard. '"Fair Ophelia." "Most beautified Ophelia." "Pretty Ophelia." "Sweet Ophelia." "Dear Ophelia." "Beautiful Ophelia…sweet maid…poor wretch." "Poor Ophelia."' (Vest 1) All of these names for Ophelia can be found in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of...