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Ophelia in Hamlet

Like Hamlet, Ophelia is motivated, at least in part, by the wrongful death of her father.  Polonius, in death, plays no direct role in the drama – no ghost comes visiting.  And while Ophelia’s suicide is not part of the supernatural elements in Hamlet in the sense of involving visitors from beyond the grave, it is far from naturalistic.  In both action and language, Ophelia’s descent into madness and eventual suicide are, in a way, as supernatural as Hamlet’s experience with the ghost of his father.

Ophelia in Hamlet

Ophelia is quite clearly mad after her father’s murder and her eventual suicide.  She cannot communicate clearly, and must do so almost exclusively in metaphor and song.  In this we can see an extreme case of the incoherence of expression that is also reflected in Hamlet’s reaction to the spirit of his father.  And while we do not witness Ophelia’s suicide, its otherworldly nature is made clear in Gertrude’s description of it.

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