Why has Ophelia gone mad? 

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rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Ophelia is trapped in the midst of palace intrigue throughout the play. Her father has ordered her to stay away from Hamlet, and she is, if anything, dutiful and obedient. This places her in a difficult situation, as Hamlet first proclaims and then denies his love for her. She is confused and troubled by his denial and his tirade against her in Act III, Scene 1:

If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy 
dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery. Go, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, 
go; and quickly too.

Ophelia has been unable to return Hamlet's love due to reasons that are beyond her control, and she is convinced that he is mad. She is clearly shaken by the event, and when Hamlet kills Polonius, it is the last straw for her fragile, innocent psyche. The event triggers her descent into madness and eventually suicide. She has been destroyed by the toxic atmosphere at Elsinore. 

 

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rienzi's profile pic

rienzi | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Ophelia is the symbolic flower of Denmark. She has no mind of her own. It is ruled by the men in the play. When Polonius dies so does Ophelia's rationality. She is divided from herself and her fair judgment as Claudius observes. Ultimately, as Claudius works on Laertes to become the instrument of Hamlet's destruction, Ophelia dies. Laertes being corrupted and turned to the dark side by a corrupt king seals her fate. She dies not by neglect but by inept and incompetent stewardship. Laertes comments, "Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia..."

arjun's profile pic

arjun | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Ophelia becomes mad due to:

01.The death of her father

02.Madness of her beloved

03. Tiredness from the plans of great players.

04. Finding the life of her lover at stake.

05. Finding her brother in anger for revenge.

06.Finding herself into mire.

All such distresses caused of her madness and later death.

Ophelia is a sincere and innocent character. Her entry and dialogues make alive the charm of drama like nightingale in a garden. Such chastity gets the reward of insanity and the drama loses charm because it enters the world of severness. Shakespeare takes a great benefit from her earlier death because it provokes the characters for duel, and it is the step that leads the story to end.

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