1. Plays have foils to help the audience understand important characters in the play. Foils are minor characters that have similarities and differences with a more important character in the play. Sometimes the minor character is just there for the character to talk to; this is the basis for being a foil. In the play “Hamlet,” [Titles] by William Shakespeare, the character Ophelia is a foil to Hamlet.
2. Similarities are an important part of being a foil. One similarity that Hamlet and Ophelia share are that they both are children of controlling parents. [SV – 1] Hamlet’s father, who is murdered[,] comes back as a ghost to tell him who his murderer is. This news is his father’s way of controlling him from the grave. Hamlet’s mother and stepfather are also controlling him by presuading [persuading] Hamlet not to go to Wittenburg. Men in those days went away to get an education. There was no need for Hamlet to do so because he was a prince. [As a Prince, he might have been even more likely to go abroad for his education.] Ophelia is controlled by her father also. She tells him how Hamlet has tried many times to express his affections for her. Ophelia’s father does not believe Hamlet is sincere and orders her to stay away from him. Ophelia obeys her father[‘]s wishes. Women were expected to do as they were told and believed what they were told to be true.
3. Another similarity between Hamlet and Ophelia is their [the] feelings they have for each other. In the beginning of the play[,] we are lead [led] to believe that Hamlet loves Ophelia. This frightens Ophelia, but that does not mean she does not have feelings for him also. It is her father who discourages [encourages] her to suppress any feelings she may have then. Later in the play Ophelia confesses her love for Hamlet[,] and he then hides his feelings and denies that he loved her. He suggests that she goes [go] to a nunnery. This makes Ophelia feel worthless and not wanted.
4. Finally the reactions that the characters have to their fathers’ deaths are also similar. When Hamlet learns that his father was murdered and that his stepfather is the killer[,] it is more than he can handle.
Ophelia In Shakespeare’s Hamlet
The tragedy of Hamlet was a very interesting play with many very interesting characters that did a great many heroic and disappointing things despite the complexity and difficulty to understand the true personality William Shakespeare intended for each. Ophelia, one of the minor characters, represents one of the two women captured between men set out for revenge. Despite the minor role this character played, her impact on the play was quite significant. However, one of the most important questions to analyze, and the question this paper will explore below is why she went mad. This paper will delve into the kind of person Shakespeare portrays her as, why she is so easily affected, the factors causing her madness and the importance each of them…show more content…
This is described in III, I, 6-7 when Hamlet says, “/that if you be honest and fair, / should admit no discourse to your beauty.” Her beauty is the reason Hamlet first fell in love with her, the reason her father, Polonius, was able to control her feelings toward Hamlet. Her father wanted this control over her love either for advancement within the court through gaining the favour of the king, or, if one were to think more optimistically, perhaps Polonius’ goal was only to protect her from Hamlet who, he believed, did not truly love Ophelia as she loved him. However, one is given hints as to Hamlet’s true feelings when Polonius reads the love letter from Hamlet to Ophelia. The letter begins with a very romantic, yet overly dramatic salutation reading, “To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the/ most beautified Ophelia…” (II, ii, 117-118) giving proof of Hamlet’s obvious belief of her utmost beauty, continuing to say (II, ii,…show more content…
Her father causes Ophelia’s madness as does Hamlet’s rejection piled on top of her weakness of character, will and lack of independence. However, Ophelia’s character helps one truly examine the personalities of the other characters as well as the role of women during that particular time in Denmark and most likely during the Elizabethan era. In the tragedy of Hamlet, Ophelia becomes the character everyone else abuses when things go wrong. Everyone tries to mould her into the image they have in mind, resulting in her ending up without her own personality, and this in addition to her unhappiness causes her madness. It is not until she becomes mad that her desolateness and dismal can be released. This release allows her to be happy, and most likely, her fear of returning to this depressing phase of life is the reason for her