Discuss the character of Ophelia: "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare


Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius and sister of Laertes, is lady of refined thinking and noble heart. Though she is convinced of the love of Hamlet, yet she does not betray the paternal love of his father and tells it to him when he overhears the conversation between her and Laertes. However, she tries to convince her father that:

"My lord, he hath importun'd me with love
In honourable fashion."
< br>She says that Hamlet has taken solemnly vows but Polonius asks her to avoid Hamlet as much as she can. She promises to avoid Hamlet in future.

She loses the true love of Hamlet and becomes a tool in the hands of the king and her father to investigate if the madness posed by Hamlet is true of fake. She meets Hamlet in the palace while the king and the queen are hidden to show them that Hamlet is in full senses when he confronts her. But Hamlet has realized that she is there by some sort of planning. He refuses even to recognize her there. Ophelia asks Hamlet of how he has been of all these days. She reminds him of his vows of love to which he denies. She says:

"for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind."

Hamlet asks a question instead: "Are you honest?" She is puzzled. She says that she believed in Hamlet's vows of love but he asks her that she should not believe men:

"We are arrant knaves all; believe none of us".

He further says that he is full of revenge and accuses her father of playing fool at home. He indirectly accuses her of deception:

"God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another".

He advises her to go to a nunnery and don't marry.

Later, when Hamlet kills her father, she loses half her senses but the absence of Hamlet as well as the lack of any body that could take care of him makes her full of pains and pangs of solitude. She loses not even her love but also her father. She dies of drowning which could even be associated with suicide.





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