In Shakespeare's Hamlet, is Ophelia's death suicide or an accident?

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There has always been a great deal of debate about Ophelia's death in Shakespeare's Hamlet. My sense is that there is nothing in the play to prove for certain if there was intent on Ophelia's part to kill herself. Gertrude's speech seems to note that Ophelia's death was an accident, as the Queen describes the event in Act IV, scene vii:

There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds

Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke,

When down her weedy trophies and herself

Fell in the weeping brook. (187-190)

In essence, Gertrude personifies the branch that was holding Ophelia—it was "envious" (translated also as "jealous"), therefore inferring that it was not her choice to go into the water, but that...

(The entire section contains 434 words.)

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