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Hamlet is a character of extraordinary complexness and deepness. No simple expression can function to work out his enigma. A different Hamlet might hold killed his uncle Claudius on the strength of the Ghost’s accusal. ascended the throne. married Ophelia and lived merrily of all time after. But such a typical hero was non likely to be of involvement to Shakespeare. We can besides state that in Hamlet Shakespeare presents a liquidator and revenger who is both ruthless and reluctant and his decease is the ultimate consequence of his being charged by the Ghost to transport out instructions which were violative to his moral rules.
Like other tragic heroes of Shakespeare he is besides endowed with exceeding qualities like royal birth. graceful and charming personality among his ain countrymen. He has a high rational quality as Ophelia observes: O what a baronial head is here overthrown! / The courtier’s. soldier’s. scholar’s oculus. lingua. blade. / Th’ anticipation and rose of the just province. / The glass of manner. and the mold of signifier. / Th’ observed of all perceivers. [ Act III. Scene I ] In malice of possessing all these high qualities which rank him above the other characters the defect in his character leads to his ruin and makes him a tragic hero.
The tragic defect in the character of Hamlet is that he thinks excessively much and experience excessively much. He is frequently disturbed by his ain nature of ‘self analyses’ . What is required of Hamlet is prompt action. whereas he broods over the moral idealism which leads to his hold in action. When he gets an chance to kill Claudius. he puts aside the idea because he can non strike an enemy while he is at supplication. Several causes account for his inactivity. By nature he is prone to believe instead than to move.
He is a adult male of ethical motives and his moral idealism receives a daze when his female parent remarries Claudius after his father’s decease. Chance excessively plays an of import portion in determining his character. Chance places him in such a place in which he is incapable of making anything. He becomes inconsistent and is no longer a individual who reaches a decision merely by concluding. Like other tragic heroes Hamlet excessively has to confront struggle. both internal and external. The internal struggle is between his moral consciences and the act of retaliation which he is called upon to execute.
Love of his male parent. the dishonour of his female parent and the villainousness of his uncle prompt him to take retaliation while his aristocracy. his moral idealism. his rules and his faith rebellion against such a barbarous act. The consequence is that. rupture within himself. he suffers mental anguish. Hamlets wants to take retaliation against Claudius. the liquidator of his male parent. the supplanter of his rights to the throne and the seducer of his female parent. In Hamlet Shakespeare presents a revenger who is both ruthless and loath. As a revenger he must move. on behalf of indignant virtuousness. to reconstruct a profaned order. put right what is ‘out of joint’ .
But the act he is impelled to make. affect him in immorality of the sort which he would penalize. As the ruthless revenger he exemplifies in his ain individual the immorality which is inseparable from the good in human nature ; as the loath revenger he can typify the good’s abomination of it. As compared to Fortinbras and Laertes. Hamlet is slow in taking retaliation because of his wont of believing long and deep. Bradley clearly describes this status and says he suffered from melancholia. a pathological province which may good develop into madness. ( p. 121 )
There is an another facet of Hamlet’s word picture i. e. his lunacy. T. S Eliot argues that ‘the lunacy of Hamlet ballad in Shakespeare’s manus ; in the earlier play a simple artifice. and to the terminal. we may assume. understood as a regulation by the audience. For Shakespeare it is less than lunacy and more than feigned. ’ ( p. 102 ) By feigning to be huffy. Hamlet kept unfastened the safety valve and could talk order to alleviate the force per unit area on his head. This is what T. S Eliot means when he uses the words “more than feigned. ” Samuel Johnson ( 1765 ) besides considers his lunacy as fabricated even in his ( Hamlet’s ) intervention of Ophelia.
Johnson says in this respect. ‘He plays the lunatic most. when he treats Ophelia with so much discourtesy. which seems to be useless and motiveless inhuman treatment. ’ ( Johnson. 1765 ) Shakespeare’s word picture of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet is self-contradictory as it challenges every bit good as complements the modern-day societal traditions and norms. Gertrude is the best illustration of this paradox that is manifested through her extraordinary domination over all the major characters of Hamlet. her influence in the tribunal affairs and province personal businesss and her blind obeisance to Claudius.
Ophelia is besides active in her domestic sphere but her involvement are restricted to amative and marital maters merely and they are farther directed by his male parent Polonius and brother Laertes. She is an prototype of traditional feminist looks of the age that require celibacy. conformity and credence of male dominancy from adult females. Ophelia remains inactive in the domestic and emotional sphere. Ophelia has no individuality of her ain and all her domestic and amative affairs are directed by her male parent.
Polonius enterprises to manner the life and attitude of Ophelia harmonizing to his ain wants. He considers his desires as her desires and attempts to orient her attack by assorted agencies. Ophelia is farther guarded by his brother against any possible menace to her celibacy and virginity. At Ophelia’s entry into Hamlet. her brother. Laertes bodyguards Ophelia reding her on her relationship with Hamlet. So right from the really start. Ophelia is under the sway of Laertes and Polonius. So her character is in complete conformance with the traditional values of that clip.
Polonius ever responds from a place of authorization over Ophelia. stressing his power as the decision-maker for her. Both her male parent and brother have a ego assigned undertaking of directing Ophelia how to move decently in every sphere of her life. Although Shakespeare has characterized Ophelia as inferior to male characters. but word picture of Gertrude has double feature. Sometime it challenges the traditions of the conformist society and sometime it itself become conforms to the values of the society by moving passively.