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Essay on Ophelia – The Innocent Victim in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Ophelia – The Innocent Victim in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Poor Ophelia, she lost her lover, her father, her mind, and, posthumously, her brother. Ophelia is the only truly innocent victim in Hamlet. This essay will examine Ophelia’s downward spiral from a chaste maiden to nervous wreck.

From the beginning of the play, in Act I Scene iii, Laertes and Polonius are trying to convince her that Hamlet does not love her and only is interested in her so he can sleep with her. Laertes says “Perhaps he loves you now, …… His greatness weighed, his will is not his own.” He is telling Ophelia that she is likely to have her heart broken because of Hamlet’s high birth. He may not be able to choose who he marries, so although he may love Ophelia, he can never marry her because of the difference in their social classes. This cannot have a good effect on Ophelia, her brother telling her that the her relationship with the one she loves is doomed from the start! Polonius tells her “Affection pooh! You speak like a green girl, / Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. / Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?” He means that although Lord Hamlet has been showing many signs of affection to Ophelia, it cannot be real. He is saying that Ophelia is blinded by Hamlet’s charm and is inexperienced (Unsifted) in this sort of situation. He goes on later to say that these affections are merely “…springes to catch the woodcocks” (traps to catch stupid little birds.) Why does Ophelia’s family find it necessary to bring down her spirits about her relationship with Hamlet? Can’t they let her figure it out for herself? This, in my opinion, is a good example of how Ophelia is victimized in this play.

Later in the play, when Hamle…

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… shows how Ophelia is the real victim in Hamlet. Everybody else who was killed in the play had done at least something evil to warrant their deaths, but what did Ophelia do? Did Shakespeare intend for Ophelia to be an innocent victim? Was it his way of adding to the feeling of loss or waste that one is supposed to have after seeing the play performed? I believe this to be true, but we may only speculate as to his reasons for doing this.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. No line nos.

Showalter, Elaine. “Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism.” William Shakespeare: Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism. Boston: St. Martin’s, 1994. 220-240.

An Analysis of Tennyson’s The Princess

An Analysis of Tennyson’s The Princess

Alfred, Lord Tennyson is the most influential poet of the Victorian Age. He was named poet laureate of England by the Queen, and the first poet to receive a title Lord. In his lifetime Tennyson has produced many works which are considered great. Such one is The Princess which is a long narrative poem with a number of songs. One of these songs is “ Tears, Idle Tears”, a poem full of sorrow and grief. In this fragment of The Princess the speaker is desperate because of the death of his love. This causes the sad tone of the poem which is something typical for Tennyson and his works.par I chose to analyze this poem because it is about something that many people have experienced, even I. Everybody has had such melancholic moments and feelings of nostalgia when he or she remembers a person who is dead. There is one more cause for choosing this particular work of Tennyson and it is the figurative language and the way the poem sounds. The use of alliteration, imagery, metaphors and the oxymoronic statement at the end make the poem more philosophical and thoughtful.

Grief is something that everybody has felt. One of the causes for being sad are memories which remind us of something that is gone or is over. The poem “ Tears, Idle Tears” has the same subject. It talks about loss and nostalgia. There are particular feelings in this poem that do not appear in many other works. These facts make the poem sound different from the others; this is one of the main reasons why I like it.

The speaker of the poem starts with a statement about the tears and where they come from. After that he gives the reason for the tears. According to the poem the grief is caused by “ the h…

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…unds reminds the reader of sadness and despair.

However, it is not only the figurative language that makes the poem so good. The perfect use of language is combined with thoughtfulness and philosophy that matches that of the author. He has said that it is better to have loved and lost than not to have loved at all. The same thing happens in the poem, the speaker is full of grief but he knows that these memories that make him sad are also sweet because there was joy before death came.

All these things make the poem one of the best representatives of the Victorian Age and of Tennyson himself. This work best presents the feelings that people have when they have lost a friend and this is the main reason why I chose it. In my opinion this poem is relevant even today when people more and more become interested in the material rather than in the spiritual.

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