Essay about Death and Christian Burial

Submitted By meier222
Words: 952
Pages: 4

Among the many tragedies of Shakespeare, Hamlet is one of the most recognized. Throughout the play many tragic deaths occur, including that of Ophelia. The events of her end leave many to question one big thing, did she commit suicide or not? While no definite answer is available, evidence seems to point to a possible self inflicted death. The death of Ophelia seems to have been left deliberately open to question. Did Shakespeare want the question of suicide to be present in his audience? To begin to understand why many believe this to be the case, Ophelia must be first understood. Ophelia is kind of a messed up character for many reasons. She had so many things go wrong with her. She betrays Hamlet, he betrays her, and her father is murdered. In reality it seems realistic that she would be drawn into suicide. From the beginning Ophelia is torn between two sides. Her father and brother are not in favor of Hamlet. They believe he will use her, taking away her virginity and tossing her aside. Her status in society during this time shows that it would be improbable for her to ever marry Hamlet. During this time she believes Hamlet loves her. She chooses to believe her heart and not listen to the reasoning around her. A time comes when she realizes she is not able to live in both worlds and she must choose a side. The choice she makes seems to be the cause of her ultimate fate. The downward spiral of her fate seemed to first take place when she rejects and betrays Hamlet at the request of her father. Upon her rejection of Hamlet he is very cruel.
“You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.” (3.1.118-120)
Hamlet is telling Ophelia that she should have never believed him; in reality he claims he never really loved her. When he asks where her father is she lies and says he is at home, when in fact he is hidden listening to the conversation. When Hamlet leaves the room, Ophelia is left heartbroken and confused. She is sure Hamlet has gone mad. Had she chosen Hamlet over Polonius her fate might have been better.
Soon after Ophelia’s father is killed by Hamlet, her madness becomes very apparent at this point. She begins to sing in a very crazed way to many people, including a song to Queen Gertrude. “He is dead and gone, lady, he is dead and gone, At his head a grassy-green turf, at his heel a stone. Oh, ho!” (4.5.37-45) She is in obvious mourning of her father. The death of Polonius is so soon after the betrayal of Hamlet. Her mind is overcome with grief and emotion and she cracks. Two very important people of her life are gone, in different senses. Her father is dead and Hamlet has turned his back on her, claiming she never meant anything to him. Not only are both absent from her life now but Hamlet was the reason for the death of Polonius. Sadly Ophelia never regains her sanity. Her death is announced in a beautiful poetic way by Queen Gertrude. “Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, and mermaid-like awhile they bore her up, which time she chanted snatches of old tune, as one incapable of her own distress, or like a creature native and indued unto that element.” (4.7.190-195) This first scene, involving the death of Ophelia, shows the first clues of a death at her own hand. The queen stated that after falling into the river, Ophelia’s dress ballooned up and created a flotation of sorts. Instead of