Self-Preservation In Hamlet And Ophelia

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The ability for a person to both follow the wishes of others or deal with challenges while preserving his or her own morals, mental wellbeing and overall health is a balance that is hard to achieve. Often times the only way that people can effectively deal with conflicts in their lives is to throw away their instinct of self-preservation. Although Hamlet and Ophelia are lovers who claim to love one another, the emphasis that they place on their own wellbeing while dealing with demands varies greatly. Ophelia always puts her own wellbeing last, whereas Hamlet was willing to use Ophelia’s mental wellbeing in order to protect himself. While some similarities exist between Hamlet and Ophelia’s sense of self-preservation, the differences are exceedingly …show more content…

Unlike the death of her father and brother Ophelia’s death is described as almost beautiful and angelic by Gertrude “Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, And, mermaid-like… Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay to muddy death.” (IV.vii.189-198). Ophelia accepted her death without any fight and made no attempt to protect her own life. She in no way fought for her life and simply gave into the eternal sleep. She gave up to the point where it could be argued that Ophelia committed suicide. Unlike Hamlet, the amount that Ophelia fights for her own self-preservation changes very little over the course of the play. From the beginning to end she is willing to let other people dictate her actions despite the emotional consequences that they have on her. And finally, her death is very fitting to the character, simply letting nature take control of her life and not fighting to even preserve her own life when she falls into the river. This creates a foil to Hamlet's character who died fighting for what he believed in and refused to let people go against what he thought was morally right. It also makes Hamlet’s death seem heroic and noble in comparison because he died fighting for what he believed

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