If you were to compare Ophelia from Hamlet to an animal in symbolic form, which animal would it be ?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is tough.  I think that I would compare Ophelia to a stray, discarded, and weakened cat or dog.  The most overwhelming comparison lies in the uncared for nature of each.  The stray animal is usually wounded in some respect, and Ophelia meets this prerequisite, and then some.  At the same time, the stray is craving for affection.  Even the most bitter of strays will take almost anything in the form of affection and, in their hunger, fail to fully grasp the ulterior motives of said displays.  I think that Ophelia might meet this standard because she is unable to fully discern or advocate for herself in the midst of the manipulation by her father and by Hamlet.  Finally, I think that the fate of strays is, for the most part, a negative one.  Certainly, I feel this is a similarity that Ophelia shares because, while there are many uncertainties in the drama, Ophelia's end being a negative one is something that is almost guaranteed given her nature and the setting around her.