Show how Ophelia's plight creates pathos.
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Lesson 13, Page 20 Key Question - 4 Hamlet Essay Show how Ophelia's plight creates pathos. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the plight of the character Ophelia creates more pathos than any other character from the play. Ophelia is a beautiful and simple-minded young woman, easily moulded by the more powerful opinions and desires of others. The thoughts of her father and her brother influenced her the most. Her father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes, love Ophelia tremendously and have taken great pain to shelter her. She returns the love, shown to her by Polonius and Laertes attentively and couples it with complete and unwavering loyalty.
Telling her that she is a "green girl" and to think of herself as a baby in this matter. The reader feels sorry for Ophelia who is ordered around by her brother and father and obeys them without a moments thought. Women in that time has little status and Ophelia's wishes are not considered at anytime. Torn apart as she is divided by loyalty it is no wonder that the strain on her eventually leads to her madness and subsequent death. That she loves Hamlet is without question. Ophelia clings to the memory of Hamlet treating her with respect and tenderness, and she defends him and loves him to the very end despite his brutality.
She has endured all that she was capable of enduring and had gone insane. The pathos of the mad scene is emphasised by the language of loss in some of the songs she sings. Her bawdy songs reflect the lusts of the outside world, of which she has no experience but to have contributed to her plight. The flowers she obsessively alludes to, themselves symbols of innocence are poignant emblems of her own youth and inability to deal with harsh world of the play. Ophelia was the character most greatly impacted by Hamlet's feigned and real madness- she first lost her father, her sanity and then her life. Ophelia innocent, obedient and weak willed deserves the most pathos of any character in the play.
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