Ophelia and Gertrude
Uploaded by ozdemr on Mar 30, 2005
OPHELIA AND GERTRUDE
Hamlet is, without any reservation, one of Shakespeare’s most significant plays. In this play, the women are the key characters, which help the development of the plot. Fates of both Ophelia and Gertrude intersect at the same circumstances in relation to Hamlet.
Ophelia is the daughter of Polonius who is the lord of Chamberlain and the Hamlet’s beloved girl. One of Ophelia’s traits, which attract attention first, is her obedience to her father. She is so obedient that after her father’s death, she went mad. Ophelia is a simple- minded woman, who is easily influenced by the opinions and desires of other people around her. Consequently, she does not posses initiative to take her own decisions. When Polonius asks her questions pertaining Hamlet’s attraction toward herself, she simply avoids herself to give a straight answer: “Do you believe his tenders, as you call them? -- I do not know, my lord, what I should think...” In addition, readers witness the passiveness of Ophelia one more time, when King Claudius and Polonius set up a meeting between Ophelia and Hamlet, in order to discover the reason of Hamlet’s “transformation”. Polonius uses his daughter as a bait and Ophelia obliges to her father’s desires impulsively.
It could have seemed that Ophelia tries to be loyal to her family. However her actions, in fact, makes herself disloyal to her brother, to Hamlet, and finally to herself. When her brother, Laertes warns her to beware of Hamlet, she answers that she will keep it secret: “Farewell, Ophelia, and remember well/What I have said to you. -- 'Tis in my memory lock'd, /And you yourself shall keep the key of it.” However as soon as Laertes exits, Ophelia tells Polonius what conversation she had with Laertes: “So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet.” Moreover when Ophelia speaks with Hamlet, watch by Polonius and Claudius, her disloyalty to Hamlet is proven: “Where's your father? -- At home, my lord.” Yet Hamlet knew that Polonius was listening them.
Other female character, Queen Gertrude reflects a complex personality throughout the play. Gertrude seems a naive woman, who lost his husband; the former king of Denmark, and distracted by her brother in law. When ghost talks to Hamlet, he says: “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,/With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts-/O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power/So to seduce!- won to...