Does she appear more than she seems?

Essay by skhanHigh School, 12th gradeA, October 2014

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Khan, 4

Does She Appear More Than She Seems?

It takes one profound event, or person, in one's life to change their perspective on the situations that befalls upon that individual. Similarly, William Shakespeare explores this idea in his work, "Hamlet," to emphasize the role Ophelia plays in the story line and in Hamlet's life. Ophelia represents naïve innocence in the play. Although innocence is commonly regarded as a positive trait, Ophelia's innocence causes chaos in Hamlet's life. By committing acts of betrayal, she causes Hamlet to doubt his loved ones and alter his perception of women. Additionally, Ophelia's death causes Hamlet to reconsider his crusade and discover a new truth.

Shakespeare uses the character of Ophelia as a representative from Hamlet's "inner circle" to place seeds of doubt in Hamlet's mind. Ophelia, ever docile, listens to her father when he tells her to distract Hamlet so that the King may act as a "lawful espial."

(3.1.33) Her loyalty to the King and Queen is seen as a betrayal by Hamlet. Through Ophelia is the epitome of goodness, her childlike nativity and innocence betray her intentions. Queen Gertrude comments "shall I hope your virtues will bring Hamlet to his wonted way again," (3.1.42) portraying Ophelia's original intentions. Ophelia cares deeply for Hamlet and her only intention was to discover what plagues Hamlet's mind so that he would act like he is stricken with madness. She is unaware of the harsh realities of life, but when she realizes all that she has lost, her eyes open. Hamlet confirms her betrayal when he tells her "that's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs." (3.2.108) For Hamlet to speak inappropriately to a woman he once loved shows his acknowledgement of Ophelia's spying actions. Ophelia's betrayal instills a strong sense of doubt in...