Ophelia

Ophelia as Hamlet's lover

Ophelia is another character worth mentioning in the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare. Ophelia is Hamlet's lover. She is the daughter of Polonius, the king’s counsellor, and Laertes' sister. The climax of Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship and the moments of greatest shared affection are timed just before the drama's incipient action. Hamlet has repeatedly sworn his love to Ophelia and showed her a lot of affection. Whether this also involved erotic contact between the two characters is left open to interpretation. It can be assumed that Ophelia returned Hamlet's love.

In any case, Polonius and Laertes characterize Ophelia's unrestrained behavior toward Hamlet as highly naive: she should not unreservedly believe the love vows of a young prince and so carelessly forget her own honor. Ophelia's male relatives are obviously strongly convinced that Hamlet only wants to enjoy himself sexually with her and has no intention of marrying her in return. Ophelia herself never seemed to have any doubts about Hamlet’s sincerity. She admits to being firmly convinced of his love for her (3.1.125).

Ophelia as obedient daughter and sister

Although Ophelia herself has never doubted Hamlet's love, she willingly allows her father and brother to convince her that this love is nothing more than a youthful desire: Polonius and Laertes succeed in shaking all her previous confidence in Hamlet with a few words. "Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister, And keep you in the rear of your affection, Out of the shot and danger of desire." (1.3.36-38).

When her father disdainfully asks her whether she trusts his proposals, Ophelia is immediately thrown into doubt and admits that she no longer knows what to believe (1.3.105, 118-119). She thus proves to be a very easily persuaded and insecure character who trusts the judgments of others more than her own. She shows an almost childlike obedience towards her male relatives. Without offering any resistance or trying to convince them of Hamlet's sincerity, she promises to stay away from him in the future (1.4.141). She immediately puts this promise into practice.

Ophelia's weakness of character can be attributed to her youth and inexperience. She seems to be a conflict-shy and adaptable person in many ways. This can be related to the role of women...

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