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Along with Ophelia’s relationship with Hamlet, comes her loyalty to her father. As a woman of this time, Ophelia is obligated to obey her father as well as bound by the Bible to do so as well. Exodus 20:12 commands, “Honor your father and your mother, that your

days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” In an attempt to follow this verse and remain true to her father, Ophelia is put into an even more compromising situation. Ophelia is told to use the hold they believe she has on Hamlet’s feelings in order to spy on him, but she feels guilty for betraying him. Her guilt and irritation further her descent and continues to bring her to the edge of irrationality, making her unable to think straight. Polonius uses his authority as Ophelia’s father to command her to betray Hamlet, which is a misuse of his power, driving Ophelia on to her passing. Ophelia’s untimely death, being caused by (madness courtesy of) Polonius and Hamlet, rather than by suicide, deserves better treatment than it received. Of course, Polonius is already dead before Ophelia and cannot do much to honor his daughter, but Hamlet, as retribution for his actions, can. Hamlet, being a large contributor to Ophelia’s fall, should insist upon a proper Christian burial, for she had already been left with her head and face up as are the formal motions of one. They’ve already gone that far, why stop there? If not for that reason, Hamlet most likely knew that she hadn’t died purposely, being aware that she had been used to spy on him. With that knowledge, he should have pursued the case of a more formal burial for a woman who fell ill and met her downfall. All in all, Ophelia’s death was caused by Polonius and Hamlet, by how they treated her and placed her in the middle of their own animosity. Hamlet bewildered Ophelia and confused her feelings, leaving her with no answers to how he truly felt or what was really going on, and Polonius misused his power as a man and her father to control what she did for the worst. The bottom line is, Ophelia is not the only one at fault for her passing; she was torn between whom to be loyal to and to whom to stay true.

Works Cited The Bible: English Standard Version. Bible Gateway, www.biblegateway.com. Accessed 30 April 2019. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Columbia: Independently published, 2019.

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