The Delicate, Wilted Flower-The Role of Ophelia in Hamlet

The classic tragedy Hamlet, is a story of a prince and the dysfunction experienced after the death of his father.After discovering his father was murdered by his uncle Claudius, Hamlet's life, along with the lives of those around him, began to spiral into a tangled web. Never is this more apparent than in the case of Ophelia.However subtle, Ophelia plays a significant role riddled with control, grief, and vulnerability.
Ophelia can be compared to that of a delicate, wilted, flower. She is fragile and apparently ruled by the men in her life.It is as though she has no true identity, forPolonius and Laertes dictated her actions. Her brother discourages her from maintaining her relationship with Hamlet by telling her, "Fear it Ophelia, fear it my dear sister, and keep you in the rear of your affection out of the shot and danger of desire." Her father concurs with Laertes' opinions ofHamlet's true intentions and tells her princes could only marry princesses. This is a contradiction, for throughout the play, Gertrude implies that she would like to see Hamlet and Ophelia together. If Polonius were correct, wouldn't Gertrude have been thefirst to say her son must look for a more deserving woman? At no time during the play does Gertrude express disdain for Ophelia.
Without further questioning, she obediently agrees to abide by her father's wishes of severing the relationship. This is truly sad for it is obvious she has strong feelings for him. Rather than stand up for her beliefs, she in essence, sacrifices herself in order to please her father.
While her father's intentions appear to be good, he did not allow her to learn the lessons of life on her own. He so wanted to protect her that he failed to recognize that pain was all a part of growing up and almost a rite of passage into adulthood; especially with affairs of the heart. Not allowing her to discover this f…


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