A Character Analysis of Ophelia

1416 Words6 Pages
A Character Analysis of Ophelia During Act One Scene Three, we are presented with the growing attraction between the young Hamlet, and Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia. However, we learn of this attraction solely through the blunt advice that both Polonius and Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, give heavily. Unfortunately for Ophelia, this advice portrays the young Prince in a negative manner, and possibly deters her from him altogether. Laertes advises Ophelia to treat Hamlet’s love as a “trifling of his favour,” and a “fashion and a toy”. He says that Hamlet’s affections are “sweet, not lasting.” It is unequivocally clear that Ophelia’s brother believes Hamlet is only physically attracted to her, and that any relationship could not seriously last. Laertes points out that “Perhaps” Hamlet loves Ophelia now, but “his will is not his own” and “he himself is subject to his birth”. He reminds Ophelia that Hamlet is a Prince, and that he may be forced to choose a wife who has royal blood, regardless of whom he might actually love. Therefore Ophelia could not become Hamlet’s wife. In addition, Laertes suggests that his sister should remain “chaste” as she would lose her honour if she lost her virginity to Hamlet before marriage, and she would become worthless. In fact, Laertes believes Ophelia should “fear it”; fear Hamlet, as she is “in the morn and liquid dew of youth”, and henceforth more easily corrupted. Ophe! lia’s brother tells her that even “The chariest maid is prodigal enough if she unmask her beauty to the moon.” Effectively, Ophelia could be the purest girl on earth, but if she allowed somebody to share her body before marriage, this would be enough to destroy her purity forever. Finally, Laertes shares with Ophelia his belief that “Youth to itself rebels, though none else near.” Ultimately, Laertes thinks that young people rebel but will only hurt

More about A Character Analysis of Ophelia

Open Document