Ophelia's Madness In Hamlet

1203 Words5 Pages
Madness plays a major role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare so eloquently portrayed his characters that it has been an ongoing question whether Hamlet was truly feigning his madness. When the late king Hamlet’s ghost tells Hamlet junior about his murder and makes him swear to avenge him, it is quite easy to imagine Hamlet losing his mind. Although he enacted the role of a madman to perfection, Hamlet was never truly mad. His state of mind was that of a cunning deceiver who planned each and every word that came out of his mouth. Ophelia is quite the opposing character to him; her sheer innocence of mind was ultimately driven towards insanity. The unexpected death of her father—by the hand of her own lover—was reason enough to drive her to madness. Madness…show more content…
Ophelia plays the victim in the play—constantly being used for other peoples’ gains. Her father and brother are quite strict on her from the very beginning of the play. They tell her that Hamlet will never truly love her and that she should discourage his advances. Hamlet’s behavior towards her was quite catastrophic to her mental well-being. In act 2 scene 1, Ophelia goes to her father and tells him of how Hamlet had frightened her just then. He came to her looking disheveled and grabbed her wrist—all the while not saying a word—and left without taking his eyes off of her. An abrupt act like this would make a person go a bit mad in the head. When Polonius asked her if Hamlet was mad because of his love for her, she replied, “My lord I do not know/But truly, I do fear it” (2.1.86-87). This shows that she blames herself for Hamlet’s madness, which is quite a burden to bear for an innocent girl like her. When Polonius realizes that Hamlet’s madness could very well be because of his love for Ophelia, he devises a plan with King Claudius; Ophelia will be in a room where Hamlet will come to, and they will hide somewhere so they can listen and see
Open Document