Analysis of Opelia and Hamlet's Relationship

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 13:48   /   Views: 229
Analysis of Opelia and Hamlet's Relationship

Ophelia was in love with Hamlet. As the conflicts between the characters and Hamlet’s inner conflicts become more complex, Ophelia is caught in the middle. She can’t deal with the overwhelmingly shocking emotions caused by the many unforeseen and tragic events. In the beginning, Hamlet and Ophelia’s relationship seems like an ordinary dating couples’; Hamlet makes “many tenders of his affection” on her, as well as “importuning [her] with love in an honorable fashion” and making “almost all the holy vows of heaven.” (1.3) However, Ophelia is then frankly told by both her father and brother, whom she dearly loves, that Hamlet does not actually love her, that she is not good enough for him, and his only purpose in wooing her is to steal away her pure, precious virginity. She is not certain whether or not any of this is true, as she admits to her father with the words, “I do not know, my lord, what I should think.” (1.3)

Ophelia, being the loyal and obedient daughter that she is, obeys her father’s instructions and refuses to return Hamlet’s “affections”. Hamlet then comes to her one night, perhaps mad or perhaps still just pretending to be mad, and out-and-out confuses poor Ophelia’s young, innocent mind. When Ophelia describes the encounter she explains how “To speak of horrors-he came before me. He took me by the wrist and held me hard...” Hamlet stares at her for a while, then sighs and departs down the stairs without taking his eyes off of her. Ophelia is further confused when she is told that Hamlet does in fact love her, and it is her fault that he seems to be going mad. She innocently agrees to help spy on Hamlet without thinking of the possible consequences. During their encounter, Hamlet treats her as though she is utterly hateful. His sudden passionate change of attitude is very perplexing to Ophelia, as she has done nothing to intentionally anger him. Hamlet, possibly feeling betrayed by Ophelia or maybe just insane, says, “I did love you once,” but then proceeds to tell her “I loved you not.” (3.1)

Hurt by this harsh statement, she replies “I was the more deceived.” This scene was the major turning point of their romantic relationship, especially when Hamlet demands “Get thee to a nunnery.” Ophelia’s fragile sensitivity is evidenced in her response to Hamlet’s ranting. “And I, of ladies most deject and wretched...O woe is me, T; have seen what I’ve seen, see what I see.” She was obviously experiencing emotional turmoil; literally worrying herself sick about the situation. During the play in Act 3 scene 2, Hamlet is cruel to Ophelia. He makes crude jokes and insulting puns. At this point, it is as if she is being used as a target of Hamlet’s bitterness toward his mother. Perhaps he is convinced that “frailty, thy name is woman.” When Ophelia discovers that the man she loves has murdered her father, it is too much for her fragile, innocent mind to comprehend.

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