Ophelia's Tragedy

Essay by knacker5000University, Bachelor'sB, May 2004

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Harold Bloom, in "Hamlet: Poem Unlimited" is not shy when stating who he believes is responsible for Ophelia's insanity and ensuing death. The blame lies directly on Hamlet as Bloom states, "Yet in effect, he is murdering Ophelia, and starting her on the path to suicide" (Bloom 41).

Ophelia loves Hamlet with a passion that can be recognized by the swooning and obsessive talking about the prince. Bloom speaks of Ophelia with the highest praise, describing her as "fragile" and "lovely," while on the other hand "Hamlet is monstrous to torment her into her true madness (Bloom 42). His blithe concern after slaughtering Polonius would be another candidate", Bloom states, in regard to the events that sent Ophelia into a mindset of insanity (Bloom 41).

Ophelia's is set up for death from the first act of the play, in Ophelia's encounters with Polonius and Laertes. Ophelia speaks about Hamlet's love towards her as she says, "He hath, ny lord, o flate made many tenders of his affection to me.

I do not know, my lord, what I should think" (I.iii.112). Ophelia openly expresses her confusion about her love life early on, and Polonius's hatred of Hamlet only fuels her confusion. "Affection, pooh," (I.iii.109) Polonius states in response to Ophelia's question about her feelings for Hamlet. Her situation only becomes worse, as Polonius offers no help for her, allowing her to continue with her confusion.

Ophelia's love quickly grows into something that she cannot control in the second act. Hamlet appears disturbed to Ophelia, and she states, "Lord Hamlet...with a look so piteous in purport...he comes before me" (II.i.92-94). Polonius fears the worst and asks, "Mad for thy love" (II.i.95)? She responds by stating, "My lord I do not know, but I truly do fear it" (II.i.96). Obstacles...