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"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.

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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.

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