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Ophelia Torn Between Two Worlds
In William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Hamlet's Act I, Scene III, Laertes advises Ophelia of the dangers and consequences that would come as a result of herrelationship with Hamlet if it were to further progress to something more. He as well as their father, Polonius, speak to Ophelia as if she were their property and as if she had no mind of her own. Tellingher that Hamlet's love is false and that her chastity is her most important virtue, and the only piece of dignity she has left. This comes to show that Ophelia lives in a patriarchal society where womenare given little to no liberties to make decisions based on their own beliefs.
Laertes makes it seem as if all he wants is to protect Ophelia as her brother, but the reader quickly learns that suchis not the case, and instead he and his father only seek to protect their family and home's reputation. Laertes warns Ophelia by stating that: The virtue of his will: but you must fear,/ Hisgreatness weighed, his will is not his own,/ For he himself is subject to his birth:/ He may not as unvalued persons do,/ Carve for himself.(Lines 16-20) Here he speaks about how Hamlet is not like the commonman, he has duties to think of and decisions to make with the people of the state in mind. Someone like Hamlet would never marry even if in love because of his responsibilities tied to the throne. Hethen states: Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open/ To his unmast'red importunity./ Fear it Ophelia, fear it my dear sister,/ And keep you in the rear of your affection,/ Out of the shotand danger of desire./ The chariest maid is prodigal enough/ If she unmask her beauty to the moon. (Lines 31-37) Laertes fears that if she gives up her virginity to Hamlet, she will be looked down uponand pitied as well as their family because of her stupidity to fall for someone knowing they would suffer to be with, such as through his in-persistence to be there for her. He believes that she...
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