The Character of Ophelia
In Shakespeare’s tragedies, the characters all have flaws that eventually lead to
their undoing. In the play Hamlet, the character of Ophelia is ultimately killed by her flaw.
It is apparent that Ophelia is an obedient person but, upon closer inspection, the audience
can see that she is not merely obedient. Ophelia’s thoughts and actions go beyond
obedience to show that she is a weak and entirely dependent character. Nothing that she
says or does is a representation of herself but mostly that of her father.
Ophelia’s cruel actions towards Hamlet, which go against her feelings for him,
demonstrate her obedience to her father. In the beginning of the play, Ophelia tells her
father that she likes Hamlet but her later actions sacrifice these personal feelings under the
order of her father. She does as her father says regardless of how it could affect her own
life. In particular, Ophelia agrees not to see Hamlet anymore after the request from her
father: “I shall obey, my lord...”(act 1, scene 4). Ophelia’s actions show that Polonius has
complete control over her because she sacrifices her personal feelings to please him.
Ophelia’s obedience goes deeper than her trying to please her father and shows
what a weak character she is. When Hamlet harasses her and tells her to go to a nunnery
where she can no longer harm anyone, she does not try to defend herself. Instead, she just
feels sorry for herself. Ophelia could not survive without someone constantly...