shakespeare - Jacob Jennifer Jacob English 152 Richard...

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Jennifer Jacob English 152 Richard Trant December 11, 2010 Final Research Paper William Shakespeare’s extraordinary play, Hamlet has been analyzed and criticized by scholars for centuries. Carrol Camden, the author of “On Ophelia’s Madness”, believes Ophelia’s lunacy derives from her unrequited love for the prince of Denmark and star of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Another author, Linda Welshimer Wagner wrote an article titled, “Ophelia: Shakespeare’s Pathetic Plot Device” which depicted Ophelia simply as a character created by Shakespeare to be a “useful device” (94). Many critics of Hamlet have not given the character Ophelia the “careful analysis” (247) which the majority of the Hamlet characters have received. Critics such as Hazlitt, Strachey, and Bradley believe “the less said about Ophelia the better”. John Draper, L.L. shucking, Rebecca West, Roderick Benedix, Laurence Babb, and G.L. Kittredge all have one similar thought on Ophelia’s character; the belief that her father’s death was the cause of her madness. Camden refutes this idea and states, “it is more “the pangs of despiz’d love” (248) which cause her tragic fate than the death of Polonius”. In the beginning of the play, both Laertes and Polonius discuss the emotions between Ophelia and Hamlet, which both men have blatantly noticed. Laertes tells Ophelia that Hamlet is simply toying with her emotions and that she shouldn’t believe that what Hamlet says is true and not just a ploy. Polonius contributes to this idea explaining “the senses of youth are easily inflamed” (248) and “she must not take the heat of Hamlet’s desire as true love” (248). They
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This note was uploaded on 10/23/2011 for the course ENG 240 taught by Professor Unk during the Spring '11 term at Ocean County College.

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shakespeare - Jacob Jennifer Jacob English 152 Richard...

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