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Essay on Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Hamlet

The Queen gives a remarkably detailed account of Ophelia’s death leaving one to believe that she may have witnessed the event. We know that she emphasized with Ophelia’s suffering to such an extent that perhaps she realized that the kindest action to take would be to let Ophelia decide her own fate, although she clearly was not in a fit state of mind to do this and was barely aware of her surroundings “incapable of her own distress.” Ophelia’s death is “beautified” as she dies in a romantic and beautiful scene befitting her character where she was surrounded by her garland of flowers. (Ophelia herself was “beautified” in a letter from Hamlet which Polonius found to be a “vile phrase.”) There is much detail, leading me to believe that Gertrude is trying to soften the blow for Laertes who is already enraged over his father’s death and his sister’s madness; the King says, “How much I had to do to clam his rage.” This is a typically selfish reaction of Claudius which serves to emphasize the need for Laertes to control his grief, as he is an extremely fiery character.

Ophelia died after collecting flowers from over a brook. I think that she was collecting them to distribute to the court, as she did after her father’s death. Flowers are a symbol of innocence, pure and easily destroyed. The tree she was crawling along whilst collecting these garlands was a willow, which is usually associated with weeping and grief, something we have assigned to the “watery” (perhaps with tears) character of Ophelia. The branches of a willow hang down towards the ground in a downcast fashion, indicating grief. The personification even extends to her garments that were “too heavy with heir drink.” The …

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…h his actions do not reflect this thought now, he had previously written her a note saying, “But that I love thee best, O most best, believe it.”

Apart from the ambiguity surrounding her death and her love for Hamlet, Ophelia is described by all as an innocent child, grappling with situations her youth is unprepared for. Even if she had consummated her love for Hamlet, I can still picture Ophelia as a vulnerable and innocent child who has to cope with situations beyond her control in a world where the role of the female is passive. It is this helplessness which Gertrude wants to look after as she “hoped thou should’st have been my Hamlet’s wife” and her madness which Gertrude wants to save her form by allowing Ophelia to make the decision over life and death.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 1600? Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Signet Classic, 1998

Metamorphosis of Celie in Alice Walker’s Color Purple

The Metamorphosis of Celie in The Color Purple

For people to be equal they need a chance to become equal by self-discovering themselves. As we are growing older during our childhood we depend on our environment, parents, and peers to create our self-image. Within our environment we are always trying to develop new insights in order to identify, clarify, connect and account for our beliefs. Even the underlying cause of dysfunctional relationships lies in crucial events in our life experience. The environment in which one is raised and developed will have a large affect on the individual. Most of the people that succeed in life come from stable families, in well positioned environments. While those that are not fortunate enough often don’t have the opportunities to rise to the top or even get a chance to self-discover themselves. Self-discovery is important because it is intended to increase an individual’s self-awareness, and help them to identify their own beliefs, skills, potentials, and talents. But when an individual is forced or destined to grow up in an atmosphere in which there doesn’t exist a stable and firm family or environment, it will generally be hard for the individual to self-discover himself and succeeded in life. These kinds of individuals that grow up under these circumstances mainly suffer from depressions, sadness, and most importantly from low self-esteem. They suffer from low self-esteem because they were raised in low standard environments. Their personalities are excessively sensitive to social rejection, humiliation, and shame. One of the greatest literary examples of this situation is Celie, the main character in the book The Color Purple by Alice Walker. “Devoid of any and all respect, Celie, a p…

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…as reborn as a different person. A person who not only had the courage to tell Albert off, but someone who left her husband to

go with Shug to Memphis to start a pant factory, with two girls working under her.

The book is truly a book about self-discovery and learning to love. Celie’s path is an expression of all people’s quest for themselves. The novel is the story of a timid woman finding herself. She did so with the love and support of the women in the novel who understood and loved her, under a safe and secure environment. Without this untraditional love a Celie would have lived her life shadowed by fear and pain. Celie’s journey through her mind, in an effort to discover her true self, is where the true greatness of this book lies.

Work Cited

Klosowski, John E. “The Color Purple and Its True Color.” Houston Cronicle. December 14, 1995 : 42-44.

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