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OPHELIA Shakespeares Ophelia is a character of great account in the tragedy of the prince of Denmark.

At first sight the reader notices that Ophelia is just a puppet in hers fathers, brothers and lovers hands, and due to this her importance could be seen as contradictory. Nevertheless, nothing is further from the truth, because thanks to hers weakness and hers incapacity to avoid manipulation she becomes essential not only in the construction of the play, but also in the characterisation of Hamlet. Ophelia is the image of naivety, goodness and obedience. She is drawn as a beautiful young woman, the personification of the purity and chastity. As it was common in the 16th and 17th centuries, Ophelias behaviour and acts are directed by the will of hers male relatives. Furthermore, the relationship between Ophelia and the three principal men of the play, specially her relationship with Polonio, could be considered better dependence than obedience. This loyality is particularly noticeable in the passage where Ofelia agrees to stay away from Hamlet, despite her love for him, and it is also proved when she accepts to take part in the trick that the king and Polonio organize in order to get to know the real cause of Hamlets madness. To understand this Shakesperean character is important to analyse the influence of the three principal men in the decisions and final dead of Ophelia. Laertes is the first who express his concern about the interest of Hamlet in Ophelia. He asks her sister for prudence and caution, because he is worried about hers virtue. In his opinion, even if the love of Hamlet for her was truthful his will was not his own; for he himself was subject to his birth and he would end up leaving her for the benefit of all. Polonio agrees with the advise of his son and considers Ophelia a navy girl for believing Hamlets springes to catch woodcocks; she should fear intimacy with Hamlet. Polonio ends up forbidding her daughters relationship with Hamlet and Ophelia promises that she will obey him. The worry attitude witch they show towards Ophelias chastity evidences the view of that time, when deflowered woman was seen as a damaged good that no one would want to marry. The rage and disappointment against his mother that Hamlet feels due to hers early marriage (with Hamlets uncle) after his first husband death, is extended to all women when he believes that Ophelia has cheated on him. She doesnt only return his letters and gifts, but also betrays him when following his fathers orders tries to find out the reason of his craziness In his dialogue with Ophelia Hamlet accuses her and all women of being a breeder of sinners and orders her to go to a nunnery. He is extremely harsh and cruel with her, and this is what has lead some critics to think that he doesnt really love Ophelia. Furthermore, is Hamlet himself who tells her that he loved her not. But later, after Ophelias death he defends that he loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers could not, with al their quantity of love make up his sum. This aggressive reaction of Hamlet makes us appreciate how the passive character of Ophelia, who acts guided by the others desires, helps to complete the characterisation of his complex personality. Hamlet appears as a man guided by his desire for revenge, and even though he shows his remorse and doubts quite often, she can also be aggressive and merciless. The cruel words of Hamlet and his insanity make Ophelia feel miserable and wretched. She loved him and their love seems to be lost forever. The announcement of his fathers murder at the hands of Hamlet is too much for the frail Ophelia and she goes insane. Due to Hamlets rejection, Polonius death and Laertes absence, Ophelia is left completely abandoned by the three men who had defined her before. The dead of

Polonius, is for Ophelia, the last in a series of shocks that hurt her personality: the love that Hamlet declares to her, the advice given by her brother and father, the prohibition against Hamlets love, Hamlet telling her that she is de reason of his madness, Hamlets harsh words and to sum up, his final rejection. The crazy Ophelia is pictured reciting enigmatic verses, children tales, immodest verses of sexual love and even singing traditional songs. Her words could be interpreted as undoubtedly connected to his dead father and to Hamlet; she seems obsessed with the lost of her father and the lost of her true love. Both are dead and gone for her, but still, she continues depending on them, thinking about them, missing them She is designed to be the eternal virgin, rejected lover and orphan. Ophelias dead is also mysterious, because it happens offstage. Gertrudis is the one who narrates what happened to the poor mad girl. Ophelia was apparently climbing a willow when a branch broke and she fell into de brook. Thus far, her death looks like an accident not like suicide, because she doesnt try to kill herself jumping into the brook. But later, we see the two clowns arguing about why should she be buried in A Christian burial if she committed suicide. Until her fathers dead, Ophelias acts and decisions were guided by hers fathers and brothers will. She doesnt seem able to defend her real opinions and desires. With her father dead and his brother gone, she continues oppressed in that state of apathy witch has determined her life. Also her death, at last, is characterised for its passiveness. Ruined by hers pain and grief, Ophelia isnt brave enough to throw herself into the uncertain dead; she falls to the water due to a broken branch and probably decides to give up to the currents of the water. She just let herself die, drowned.