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This paper examines how Shakespeare's use of subtlety in regards to Ophelia's pregnancy is one of the most interesting points in "Hamlet". Through an analysis of the text, the paper attempts to answer the question of whether Ophelia was pregnant with Hamlet's child. It also discusses how the medicinal uses for the flowers and herbs she talks about before her tragic death lead us to conclude that she was pregnant and that the side effects of these herbs also contributed to her death, making it an accident and not a suicide. The paper concludes that Ophelia (though in recent years portrayed as a willful and independent woman, a symbol for the feminist movement) was a scared, innocent child dealing with more than most adults could handle.
From the Paper:"We do not see Ophelia again until Act IV, Scene V when her own madness as begun to set in. When she does return she sings about a maid who was seduced and subsequently rejected by her lover. Gertrude and Claudius say how vulgar her song is but without realizing she is only telling her story. Hamlet told her that he did not love her. She had given herself to him and was rejected, not knowing he really did love her, "I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quality of love make up my sum" (Hamlet, Act V, Scene II). In her mind she lost her virginity for nothing, she was used and betrayed."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Painter, Robert and Brian Parker. "Ophelia's Flowers Again." Notes and Queries. 41.1-4 (1994): 42-44.
- Riddle, John M. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.
- Riddle, John M. Eve's Herbs. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.
- Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet." The Norton Shakespeare. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997. 1668-1755.
Cite this Book Review:
Ophelia's Pregnancy (2009, April 23) Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/book-review/ophelia-pregnancy-113642/
"Ophelia's Pregnancy" 23 April 2009. Web. 06 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/book-review/ophelia-pregnancy-113642/>