How Does Ophelia Change In Hamlet

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Madness is a crucial themes in William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet. The combination of King Hamlet’s sudden death, Claudius coming into power, and the marriage between Claudius and Gertrude brings turmoil to Hamlet. Due to all of these events taking place, not much attention is given to what happens to Ophelia during the play. Throughout the play Ophelia’s character changes as she slowly slips towards madness due to the actions that Hamlet takes in his revenge. Ophelia goes through three core stages before her death, starting as the soft spoken and obedient daughter, to the woman who attempts to grow into her own person, and finally to the mad woman who expresses herself with songs and soliloquies. Ophelia starts out as an ignorant girl who has little judgment and lacks a will of her own. Both her father and her brother feel the need to remind Ophelia of the pains that Hamlet’s affections might cause her. Laertes implies that Ophelia might lack control over her sexual desires: Whereof he is the head. Then if he says he loves you, It fits your wisdom so far to believe it As he in his particular act and place May give his saying deed; which is no further Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal. Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain If with too credent ear you list his songs Or lose your…show more content…
In the end death is the only solution in her struggle for her own voice because she is unable to be sane and unrepressed at the same time. Becoming mad enables her to speak her own mind without worry but prevented people from taking any of it seriously. Gertrude herself shuns Ophelia’s madness, “I will not speak with her” (4.5.1). Instead of sharing the struggle of being female Gertrude also represses and manipulates Ophelia. With no support, Ophelia’s madness leads her to isolation and eventually death. Ophelia’s final song before her demise shows her feelings on

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