Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Shakespeares Hamlet - The Character of Ophelia Essays -- GCSE Englis

Hamlet: The Character of Ophelia  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚        Ã‚   Concerning the Ophelia of Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet, is she an innocent type or not? Is she a victim or not? This essay will explore these and other questions related to this character.    Rebecca West in â€Å"A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption† viciously, and perhaps unfoundedly, attacks the virginity of Ophelia:    There is no more bizarre aspect of the misreading of Hamlet’s character than the assumption that his relations with Ophelia were innocent and that Ophelia was a correct and timid virgin of exquisite sensibilities. . . . She was not a chaste young woman. That is shown by her tolerance of Hamlet’s obscene conversations, which cannot be explained as consistent with the custom of the time. If that were the reason for it, all the men and women in Shakespeare’s plays, Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Benedict, Miranda and Ferdinand, Antony and Cleopatra, would have talked obscenely together, which is not the case (107).    West’s interpretation of Ophelia’s character is not a consensus feeling among critics, so her innocence is challenged but not overturned. Beginning now with the play, the reader/viewer sees that the protagonist of the tragedy, Prince Hamlet, initially appears dressed in solemn black. He is mourning the death of his father, supposedly by snakebite, while he was away at Wittenberg as a student. Hamlet laments the hasty remarriage of his mother to his father’s brother, an incestuous act; thus in his first soliloquy he cries out, â€Å"Frailty, thy name is woman!† Ophelia enters the play with her brother Laertes, who, in parting for school, bids her farewell and gives her advice regarding her relationship with Hamlet. Op... ...Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint of Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.    Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995.    Ward & Trent, et al. The Cambridge History of English and American Literature. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1907–21; New York:, 2000    West, Rebecca. â€Å"A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.† Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. of The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.    Wilkie, Brian and James Hurt. â€Å"Shakespeare.† Literature of the Western World. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992.            

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