Analyse Ophelia’s character and her agency in the play.
When we first meet Ophelia in the play, she is being told by her brother, Laertes, and father, Polonius, to not spend time with Hamlet. While she asks her brother to limit his own sexual pursuits, she finally relents to her father’s advice. Her sexuality is linked to her and her family’s honor and she is defined by them not having her own autonomy
Her frequent dismay, conveyed by her disheveled hair and public singing, toward the end of the book is a result of her failed relationship with Hamlet as well as her father’s death. Her character is heavily dependent on her male counterparts for narrative advancement.
It is interesting to note that her decision to end her own life stands in contrast to Hamlet’s contemplations on suicide: Unlike Ophelia, Hamlet never acts on these thoughts.
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