Self Expression In Ophelia In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Self expression is a crucial component for happiness, and the inability to do so would drive anyone mad. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Hamlet is furious with his uncle for murdering his father and wants to avenge his father’s death, but he fails to act on all presented opportunities, and, instead, unintentionally causes many other people’s deaths. This classic tragedy is world-renowned. Yet, many people do not know the characters well, especially not Ophelia. She is viewed by the audience as a feeble woman, who is hopelessly in love and incapable of making her own decisions. However, her character is much more complex. She is in a constant internal battle throughout the play but is never able to voice her concerns or opinions. All her life, Ophelia was not allowed to think for herself, but her madness--which was the result of cruelty from men in her life--enabled her to express herself at last.…show more content…
Hamlet, her father Polonius, and her brother Laertes decide everything for her. When she gets the chance to make a choice, she does not know how. “At four different times she say, ‘I do not know what to think, my lord,’ twice to her father and twice to Hamlet” (Montgomery Byles 1712). She wants to satisfy the desires of men and is confused when her feelings conflict with their wishes. She does not speak up or voice her opinion. Instead, Ophelia obediently carries out her father’s wishes to stop seeing Hamlet even though she loves him. “She is not allowed to have, much less declare an emotional world of her own” (Montgomery Byles 1713). To fulfill her father’s requests, she sacrifices her own happiness. Ophelia “...exists in a world created by their need…” (Montgomery Byles 1713). Ophelia’s whole life revolves around demands from the men she loves. She is expected to satisfy their wishes, but they never stop to think about her
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