Ophelia's Madness

Write a critical interpretation of the following part of Act 4, scene 5, considering how language and dramatic effects contribute to meaning: from the start of the scene, 4.5.1 “ I will not speak with her” to 4.5.92, “…superfluous death”

In this essay I will attempt to analyze Ophelia’s figure in her moment of madness, trying to
Understand the root that causes her into this state of mind, considering the development of her character during the plot and her personal background. Moreover, we will examine how Shakespeare uses the language for giving a dramatic effect to the scene and how this language has a more theatrical effect than the action itself.
          The character of Ophelia represents the typical image of the women in the sixteenth century. She is a middle-class girl, motherless, oppressed by her father and brother and as Dane says “she has been shaped to conform to eternal demands and to reflect other desire”. All her world is dominated by all the male figures that have treated her like a “green girl” (1.3 v.101) and don’t consider her opinions. This is why in the first part of the tragedy, Ophelia hasn’t got a personal identity but she is only the reflection of men’s will (“I do not know, my lord, what I should think” 1.3 v.104).   Her brother, Laertes considers Ophelia only an esthetic object. In the third scene of the first act we see Laertes advice Ophelia to be wary of men, Hamlet in particular.   Laertes seems to be keeper of her “chaste treasure” and he is not interested in her feelings but only to preserve her chastity. She is repressed in a sexual and emotional context by his brother and father’s impositions. Polonius is convinced that Ophelia is not capable to take decisions because if she follows her feelings she will act like a fool and he is more worried about his own reputation as a father and as a man of court (“Tender yourself more dearly/ Or-not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, / Running it thus- you’ll tender me a fool” 1.3...