The Tragic Life Of Ophelia

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The Tragic Life of Ophelia "One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow.-Your sister's drowned Laertes." (Act 4, sc. 7, ls. 162-163). These were the words that Queen Gertrude delivered to Ophelia's brother, Laertes, when she took her own life. Many think Hamlet is the most tragic character in the play, but some critics like to think that Ophelia is the most tragic. Ophelia's life is not mentioned often throughout the play, so it is shadowed by the life of Hamlet. Many obstacles that Ophelia faces throughout Shakespeare's tragedy support reasons why she is considered the most tragic character. Ophelia lives in a society ruled by men, faces rejection from the love of her life, and deals with the death of her father. Ophelia's love for Hamlet never dies, but it is limited by the disapproval of her father and her brother. "For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, Hold it in a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, The perfume and suppliance of a minute. No more." (Act 1, sc. 3, ls. 5-10). She is warned many times to stay away from Hamlet, but it does not affect her love for him. Her father, Polonius, suggests that she does not waste her time on Hamlet and that she should not talk or spend time with him. Ophelia is no longer allowed to pursue things with Hamlet because of the disapproval of her father and brother. This takes a toll on Ophelia and is one of the many reasons why her life is so tragic. Even though Ophelia unconditionally loves Hamlet, it is not a mutual feeling. The King, Claudius, sends many people to spy on Hamlet throughout the play and Hamlet begins to think that Ophelia is helping the King spy on him. Hamlet thought that Ophelia was plotting against him and felt betrayed. "You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but

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