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Ophelia's Madness in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Ophelia has a unique, very powerful and interesting form of madness; she carries out an important role in the elaboration of the plot because she presents a theme of love and innocence. In the beginning, she starts off in a healthy state of mind, in love with her boyfriend Hamlet, yet controlled by her father in regard to their relationship. During the play she encounters several troubling experiences involving Hamlet, which cause her to become distressed. Near the end, the death of her father leaves Ophelia mentally unstable and in a state of madness that eventually leads her to death. So, due to all of the unfortunate events that took place with the people she loved the most in her life, Ophelia gradually becomes mad, and in the end passes away. Ophelia’s and Hamlet’s love for each other in the beginning was very real. Following the death of his father, Hamlet falls in love with her, and is much attracted by her beauty. It is not uncertain, however, that Ophelia is very much controlled by her father; she is a very obedient young girl who is ready to suppress deeply her feelings in order to obey her father's wishes. She is the daughter of Polonius, the chief advisor to the new King Claudius, and a highly respected man. Her father demands that she tell Hamlet that she can no longer be with him and tells her, “I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth have you so slander any moment leisure as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look to’t, I charge you. Come your ways.” (Act I, Sc. 3, 132-35). It is clear that here Polonius is making decisions for his daughter, regardless if she really loves Hamlet or not. She feels very unimportant and helpless now, and because of this develops a lack of emotional confidence and strength. All she can reply is, “I shall obey, my lord” (Act I, Sc. 3, 136). She is used to relying on her father’s direction and has been brought up to be very obedient. As well, her brother Lae...

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Ophelia's Madness in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 04:32, December 18, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/91055.html