Significance/ Role

  • Noblewomen of Denmark
  • Daughter of Polonius
  • Sister of Laertes
  • Hamlet’s love

Character Traits and General Facts

  • Ophelia demonstrates purity, the innocence and virtue of women
  • She is childlike and naïve in nature
  • She is unaware of the harsh realities of life
  • Although she truly loves Hamlet, she is very loyal and obedient to her brother and father and avoids Hamlet upon their orders
    • “No, my good lord, but, as you did command, I did repel his letters, and denied access to me” (II.2.107-109).
    • She defends Hamlet and loves him, despite his brutality
    • She is incapable of defending herself, and through her timid responses, it is evident that she is suffering inside
      • “I do not know, my lord, what I should think” (I. 3. 104).
      • This quote describes how Polonius easily manipulates Ophelia and it is evident that Polonius brings his daughter up under his control
      • She is unable to cope with the unfolding of one traumatic event after another and as a result she becomes insane after hearing about her father’s death and eventually drowns

Her Relationship in Accordance With Other Characters

  • Through Ophelia, we witness Hamlet’s evolution and de-evolution into a man that has a firm belief that all women are ignorant and deceitful
    • “I have heard of your paintings well enough; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, you nickname God’s creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance” (III. 1. 144-148).
    • Polonius makes arrangements to use the alluring Ophelia to discover why Hamlet is acting mad
      • “Ophelia, walk you here. Gracious, so please you, we will bestow ourselves. Read on this book, that show of such an exercise may colour your loneliness” (III. 1. 43-46).
      • Hamlet causes all her emotional pain throughout the play
      • Laertes and Polonius both warn Ophelia about Hamlet and forbid her to come near his presence as they think he is just using her for his sexual pleasure
        • Laertes and Polonius are both so ignorant of Ophelia’s true feelings towards Hamlet


  1. I would wish you’d specify the information as you did for your Gertrude character analysis instead of using bullet points

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