• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Shakespeare's women are merely objects of beauty; their sole function to be possessed"- Katie Stockholm - Discuss this in the light of the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet and explore the extent to which he "loved" her.

Extracts from this document...


Anna Booth 12Y Hamlet Essay 3.12.02 "Shakespeare's women are merely objects of beauty; their sole function to be possessed"- Katie Stockholm Discuss this in the light of the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet and explore the extent to which he "loved" her. I agree with Stockholm to a certain extent as throughout the play Ophelia has been manipulated by other characters for their needs, an example of this manipulation would be when Hamlet uses Ophelia as a medium to let Polonius know that he is mad. In the play, Ophelia is portrayed as a very stereotypical woman of Shakespeare's time- she obeys orders and in my view she does not express her own opinion. This is typical of women in the 16th century as they were almost viewed as second class citizens by men and were expected to do as they were told. The audience is first introduced to Ophelia in Act One Scene One when she is saying goodbye to Laertes. Laertes warns her that even if Hamlet says that he loves her, he may not be able to decide for himself as he is next in line for the throne- "He may not, as unvalued persons do, carve for himself, for on his choice depends the safety and health of this whole state." ...read more.


However I think that Ophelia just says this to her father, as she knows he does not approve, he calls her a "green girl" which means that she is inexperienced. Although I don't think that Hamlet and Ophelia have had sex at this point in the play, a modern video version of Hamlet by Branagh showed Hamlet and Ophelia having sex in the opening scene. If Hamlet and Ophelia were having sex as in the Branagh's version, then I think Hamlet did truly love Ophelia as otherwise he would have got what he wanted and would not still be sending her "tenders of his affection". Ophelia ends Act One Scene One by saying, "I shall obey, my Lord" and I think that that line is particularly important as in my opinion it sums up Ophelia's character quite well as she is being told what to do and has no choice but to obey her father. However there could be different interpretations of that line as some people may believe she is being sincere when she says she will obey but others may believe that she is just saying that as she knows that that is what her father wants to hear. ...read more.


Ophelia could remain chaste and not continue the procreation of wicked sinful creatures as even the most ordinary men are full of sin and then Hamlet goes on to enumerate his. However this could be interpreted to mean that Hamlet is genuinely angry and maybe behaving in this way towards Ophelia because he is so irate about what his mother did to his father that he is taking it out on Ophelia as she may turn out to be the same. In Act Five Scene One when Hamlet finds out that Ophelia has drowned, I think there is evidence to show that Hamlet did love her at one point as he says, " I love Ophelia, forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum". However Hamlet does not continually talk about Ophelia and if he still loved her then I think he would have been more upset and talked about her more but instead he is occupied with trying to avenge his father's murder. In conclusion I believe that Hamlet did love Ophelia at the start of the play but when Hamlet found out that his father was murdered by Claudius who then married Gertrude almost immediately, Hamlet realised that women could be deceitful and so his opinion of Ophelia decreased. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Explore Shakespeare’s presentation of Claudius’. Does he have any redeeming qualities or is ...

    letting them know he is against it, he will win the people over. Claudius knows that to be successful he needs to win over Polonius, not only as an advisor but as someone he can use and trust. He does this by announcing that Polonius' son Laertes may have his leave.

  2. The Dramatic Function of Ophelia in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'.

    She falls into madness and (arguably) takes her own life. In contrast miserable Hamlet only contemplates suicide. This shows his strength (meeting audience expectations, for he is the hero of the play) by highlighting the difficulty of rising above insanity and suicidal urges, making his success more impressive.

  1. Shakespeare is unable to present women other than as passive victims or deceivers of ...

    forehead is quite shocking and shows just how much Hamlet disapproves of his mother. Shakespeare's choice of imagery when Hamlet is referring to his mother is especially crude 'doom...is thought-sick...rank sweat of an enseamed bed... corruption...nasty sty...pinch wanton...reechy kisses'21. This language reflects the common attitude towards Gertrude by Elizabethan audiences, who would've seen her as a lustful woman.

  2. Hamlet - One student said she sympathised most with Gertrude and Ophelia because they ...

    Gertrude has incisive moments and isn't a stupid and weak woman. The only setback is, is that she isn't given any power as she is a woman and woman were treated as frail and tearful. I think that the closest Gertrude ever gets to power is marrying two Kings who hold all the power over the nation.

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    her fighting soul", and help her in this moment of crisis to make the right choice. The queen thinks Hamlet is crazy. The ghost leaves. Hamlet tells the queen not to dismiss what he has said about her as the result of madness, and says how ironic it is that virtue (his blunt talk to his mother)

  2. Identify and discuss different interpretations of Ophelia. Choose a particular scene to discuss in ...

    inferior to men, this is further proven by the fact that the only two women in the play die before the end. Shakespeare depicts both characters as being weak, Ophelia for being unable to handle the rejection of the man she loves, Hamlet, which leads to her insanity and eventual suicide.

  1. 'Are Gertrude and Ophelia merely pawns in the world of Hamlet? Explore the plays ...

    However, due to Hamlet's procrastination, events take a turn for the worse as the end of the play brings about death to every main character through error of judgment. Gender roles in the play Hhamlet are a major factor dictating the lives of the females Ophelia and Gertrude.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    Ib. "- had seen the mobled queen," &c. A mob-cap is still a word in common use for a morning cap, which conceals the whole head of hair, and passes under the chin. It is nearly the same as the night-cap, that is, it is an imitation of it, so as to answer the purpose ("I am not

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work