Ophelia's Madness in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Length: 5 Pages 1357 Words

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 Continue...


Ophelia now goes completely mad and has lost all control over her mind. He thinks that Hamlet only loves her because he wants to seduce her, and demands his sister to never see him again. The news of Polonius' death was just enough to throw her over the edge of insanity. She does not talk to him now as herself, she sings and speaks of rosemary's and pansies which are invisible to everyone else. The occurrence after their breakup was even more upsetting to Ophelia because of the harsh way Hamlet treated her. 1, 120) ... you jig and amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures and make your wantonnes your ignorance. Polonius then goes to tell the King and Queen of Hamlet's outrageous behavior and plans to spy on Hamlet to prove he's gone mad. As well, her brother Laertes agrees with what their father is saying. Ophelia's madness progresses throughout the play as she comes across more and more unfortunate incidents. It becomes clear now, when she sings the song about a maid on St.