Gertrude says that Ophelia appeared "incapable of her own distress". The bawdy songs that she sings in front of Laertes, Gertrude, and Claudius are somber reminders that the corrupt world has taken its toll on the pure Ophelia.
But even in her insanity she symbolizes, to everyone but Hamlet, incorruption and virtue. She has no way to reconcile the contradictory selves her men demand that she be and still retain an equilibrium.
To Hamlet, she is a sexual object, a corrupt and deceitful lover. Her father, Polonius, and brother, Laertes, love Ophelia tremendously, and have taken great pains to shelter her. I loved you not. He has been betrayed by his own mother, and struggles with this throughout the play.
In the case of an ingenue like Ophelia, a very young and lovely woman, Shakespeare would have been writing for a boy.
Polonius later suggests  to Claudius that they hide behind an arras to overhear Hamlet speaking to Ophelia, when Hamlet thinks the conversation is private. We do know that Ophelia is torn between two contradictory poles.
She is gone and quickly forgotten.
Hamlet realises he is being spied upon. Her heart is pure, and when she does do something dishonest, such as tell Hamlet that her father has gone home when he is really behind the curtain, it is out of genuine fear.
Laertes enhances the message of consistency in the play, through the extremes of his own actions. And if women are harlots, then they must have their procurers.
Further, in the scenes following, Hamlet never reveals any sadness or remorse over it. In the 19th century, she was portrayed by Helen FaucitDora JordanFrances Abingtonand Peg Woffingtonwho won her first real fame by playing the role.
She talks in riddles and rhymes, and sings some "mad" and bawdy songs about death and a maiden losing her virginity. She reveals her choice when she lies to Hamlet, saying her father is at home, when, in fact, Polonius is hiding behind a curtain spying. Laertes warns her that Hamlet, the heir to the throne of Denmarkdoes not have the freedom to marry whomever he wants.
Ophelia sings more songs and hands out flowers, citing their symbolic meaningsalthough interpretations of the meanings differ.
It appears that Ophelia herself is not as important as her representation of the dual nature of women in the play. Shakespeare Online References Bradley, A. He shows that all the qualities of the characters are akin to standing on a ball, and the more one leans to one extreme or the other, without totally jumping off the ball, the more momentum is gained, and the more force is needed to offset the rolling of the ball, which is just as likely to send on spinning at a greater speed in the other direction!
The dilemma also forces her into madness. First, she is utterly devoted to her father and brother as she is growing up without her mother.
He exits after declaring, "I say we will have no more marriages.
When she lies to Hamlet and tells him that Polonius is home when he is concealed in the room eavesdropping, Ophelia proves she cannot live in both worlds.
I was the more deceived.Ophelia is a character in William Shakespeare's drama Hamlet. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet. Contents. The Role of Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Although Ophelia is not a main character in the revenge tragedy 'Hamlet' her dramatic purpose is vital to the play.
Laertes’ Role & Importance in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This is important from the viewpoint that it demonstrates his dislike for the King and his wish to be away from the questionable circumstances of his marriage and subsequent ascension to the throne, a wise decision, and an attempt to remain apart and above the world, as the Greek.
The Character Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius, the right hand man of the King.
Although she is only in five scenes Ophelia plays an interesting role in this play as the seemingly passive, melancholy, innocent 'little girl' whose story ends in tragedy. Introduction to Ophelia in Hamlet Of all the pivotal characters in Hamlet, It appears that Ophelia herself is not as important as her representation of the dual nature of women in the play.
The extent to which Hamlet feels betrayed by Gertrude is far more apparent because of Ophelia's presence. "Her whole character is that of simple. Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Hamlet: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes.
William Shakespeare's Hamlet follows the young prince Hamlet home to Denmark to attend his father's funeral. Ophelia is a difficult role .Download