Essay on Hamlet Final Draft

Submitted By raenicoles
Words: 888
Pages: 4

Raven Robledo
Ms. Happ
Shakespeare: Block 1
6 November 2014
Ophelia Chose Not To Be
What would a tragedy be without death? Not a tragedy. William Shakespeare’s tragedies are famously known for their obscene violence and copious amounts of death. Hamlet, one of his most memorable plays, is no exception and does not disappoint in headcount, however one of the most striking deaths of the play is the innocent Ophelia’s. Obedient daughter of Polonius, naïve lover of Hamlet, victim to the hostile grips of politics. Although Ophelia experiences an unfortunate death, given the circumstances that lead up to her drowning, there stands the possibility that she is more aware of her situation than she lead on throughout a majority of the play and chooses to take her own life rather continuing to suffer the repercussions of other people’s actions. Ophelia lives in a politically driven world filled where spying, deceit and manipulation are typical actions to gain power. Because she does not possess any title of power or significance, to be anything but a man in Elsinore leaves her at a disadvantage. From the time Ophelia is introduced, until later in the play when her father dies, the most the audience witnesses her do in Denmark is pine over Hamlet, and takes orders from her father Polonius and brother Laertes. This makes her inherently different from everyone else in Denmark because she an innocent girl with no apparent desire to actively seek out power. A perfect scapegoat. To worsen her position, she has faith in the men in her life which in this world, as Ian Johnston words it, “simply has no room for love” (Johnston 9). Ophelia is in the perfect situation to be manipulated and let down by Polonius and Hamlet. Hamlet seems to carry the most weight in Ophelia’s eventual spiral into madness and death. She appears to be opportunistic from her first scene because she declares to her father that she loves Hamlet and how “he hath importuned [her] with love” (1.3.119). However despite her feelings she does as her father tells her and breaks up with Hamlet. This moment marks a turn in Hamlet’s actions towards Ophelia as he becomes defensive and resorts to verbal attacks towards Ophelia. Both verbal interactions they have consist of Hamlet insulting Ophelia’s sexuality, but what differentiates his first attack from the second, is that the second is made public. In Act 3, Scene 2, Hamlet chooses to again verbally attack Ophelia’s sexuality with crude remarks and puns, but this time in presence of the court, publicly humiliating her. Ophelia, having clearly been in love with Hamlet, must have been not only offended but heartbroken by Hamlet’s harsh words. Each cruel word chipping away at her hope in men. Not only did Hamlet take part in deteriorating Ophelia’s faith in men, but her own father, Polonius, did as well. Her father shows no second thought in his initial use of Ophelia to determine Hamlet’s sanity by insisting she to break up with him. However he does show some concern after forcing her to return Hamlet’s belonging to him in order to eavesdrop with Claudius. Each situation causing more issues with Hamlet, but Ophelia wants to abide by her father and assume that he’s doing what’s best. It’s not until his death that it becomes apparent that things begin to click for Ophelia. After