The Symbolism of Ophelia's Death Essay
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It is widely believed that “Living life without honor is a tragedy bigger than death itself” and this holds true for Hamlet’s Ophelia. Ophelia’s death symbolizes a life spent passively tolerating Hamlet’s manipulations and the restrictions imposed by those around her, while struggling to maintain the last shred of her dignity. Ophelia’s apathetic reaction to her drowning suggests that she never had control of her own life, as she was expected to comply with the expectations of others. Allowing the water to consume her without a fight alludes to Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia as merely a device in his personal agenda. Her apparent suicide denotes a desire to take control of her life for once. Ophelia’s death is, arguably, an honorable one,…show more content…
Even in death, she displays yielding and passive behavior: Ophelia does not have the intention of committing suicide, though she fails to save herself from sinking. She is essentially a casualty of a society that enforces unreasonable expectations for its women and is never afforded the liberty of thinking for herself and making her own judgments and decisions. Her passive death represents the lack of control she has over her own person and the dependence she has developed on other people. Therefore, Ophelia is mentally unstable and not capable of realizing that her life is on the line. Ophelia is trained by the men in her life to be compliant with their demands, preventing her from practicing her autonomy and enabling her to be easily manipulated by Hamlet. Making use of her dutiful and obedient personality, Hamlet victimizes Ophelia and her lack of resistance to his treatment is paralleled in her surrender to the water and subsequent drowning. In a fit of rage, Hamlet angrily denounces Ophelia and claims to have fallen out of love with her:
HAMLET. The power of beauty will sooner
Transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than
The force of honesty can translate beauty into his
Likeness. This was sometime a paradox, but now
The time gives it proof. I did love you once (3.1.113-117).
Не стану вас затруднять, - ухмыльнулась она, - благодарю за предложение. Но все же кто. Беккер держался своей легенды: - Я из севильской полиции.