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Character essay - on Ophelia from Hamlet


answers: 2
OMG ok due the 3rd I have a rough start any input would be great it is the final and I am way over my head. so hear goes thanks for any help.

In a 750-1000 word essay, please discuss Ophelia. What kind of character is she? Is she strong? Is she weak? Is she a victim, or is she partially responsible for her destiny? Why?




In the play Hamlet, from the opening, Shakespeare uses the influence of dialogue to show the noticeable ill-treatment of Ophelia through the arrogant tone and improper speech of her father and brother. I believe Ophelia is characterized as a young and immature woman. The men in her life talk down to her. She is obedient to her brother, Laertes and father Polonius. Ophelia is treated like a child and is easily persuaded by the more powerful opinions of others. I see her as a woman who is victimized and is not responsible for other people's actions and behavior. Ophelia is weak because of her lack of self worth, falling under the manipulations of her brother, father and lover, Hamlet. Shakespeare expresses this characteristic of immaturity by the conversations Ophelia has with others and her actions throughout the play. As a weak victimized woman, she carries out her role in this play.
Ophelia is introduced in the play with her brother giving her his opinion about the affections of Hamlet and how he could deceive her. Hamlet is apparently treating her with great affection at this point but her brother does not appear to trust his sister's judgment and that implicates her as being young and immature. He talks to her as if she is a child and cannot make good choices on her own Laertes says to Ophelia expressing his concern for her:

Then weigh what loss you honor may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs,
Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
To his unmastered importunity.
Fear it, Ophelia, fear it my dear sister,
And keep you in the rear of your affection,
Out of the shot and danger of desire. "(1.3.31-37)"

Feeling victimized by her brother's discussion, Ophelia is defensive of Hamlet's affections and tries to get her brother to understand that she trusts Hamlets affections toward her to be honorable and true. Laertes tells her that she does not need to fear him and apparently his intentions are for her sake. Her father follows in to give her a similar talk and she listens to him while being talked to like a child telling her:

Marry, I'll teach you: think yourself a baby;
That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay,
Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly;
Or--not to crack the wind of the poor phrase,
Running it thus--you'll tender me a fool."(1.3 106-110)"
Ophelia is weak because of the way she allows the people around her to continue to treat her like as if she is a child. A person can only take so much ill treatment and be able to be strong. Nature gives humanity the will to make choices and to be able to hold up to certain limits of emotional stability. In Hamlet, Ophelia represents a character with the internal troubles of humankind, the reality of the repeated conflict in life, as well as existence itself, must present it in the form of a person.
Ophelia had encountered a frightening moment of Hamlets insanity that surly emotionally made a negative impact on her adding to her weakness and enforcing how she is a victim. Polonius says to Ophelia after she gives him the explanation of what Hamlet had done to her:
Come, go with me: I will go seek the king.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself
And leads the will to desperate undertakings
As oft as any passion under heaven
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry.
What, have you given him any hard words of late? "(2.1 101-107)
Polonius, in his last statement is perhaps suggesting she may have brought this upon her self and she tell him that she has not. She had stayed away for Hamlet as her father had commanded. Ophelia was certain of Hamlets affections and as it turned out him denies ever loving at one point and that, he did not love her and distrusts her honesty. This situation sets her up for doom. This was were her weakness and emotional distress begins. The advice she received from her brother was in fact good advice, although at the time she had no concern.
My impression of Ophelia is she is a victim of circumstance. The treatment she endures makes her weak and the murder of her father drives her to madness. She had not received support from her family because they consider her weak and naive. She has lived with this her entire life and upon her death, she is finally at peace.
May 3, 2011, 05:34pm   #2
You are a very good writer...this is good, you don't need to put so many quotes out there, the analysis means a lot, but all the quotes will draw the reader away.
Hey, I hope you had some success with this. I see that the deadline has passed....
Well, I'll mention that this sentence seems unnecessary: As a weak victimized woman, she carries out her role in this play. I think the thesis statement is complete without it.

typo?---> She had stayed away for Hamlet as her father had commanded.

Like many essays, this one has a clear thesis, but the thesis is not very important. It will become important if you dig a little deeper. Instead of just observing that she is a victim of circumstance or that she was weak, go a step further and draw a conclusion about human nature or about current events. Apply the lesson in some cool way.

So... those are my thoughts, for what they're worth. I think it is already looking pretty good!



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