Shakespeare has been an amazing playwright and a poet over decades. His plays and poetry have been influenced in the literature world, especially in the English literature world. Every literaturist falls in love with his plays! It has been a core subject. He has remarkable classic literature one should read. The book ‘Hamlet: Prince of Denmark’ is a tragedyl play, where in the end of the play every character is dead. Shakespeare shows the world the establishment between “the uses of this world” and a “characters private interior space”. Shakespeare reveals how his society is and reveals what they expect from every individual. Beyond that he lets his reader realize that there is more than what we can imagine, more to understand every character in the book, more to express thoughts or analyze it. Every play of Shakespeare sets meaning to it!
The primary characters in this play are Hamlet: the Prince of Denmark, Gertrude: the Queen, Claudius: murderer of the former king of Denmark, Ophelia: maiden who loves Hamlet, Laertes: Ophelia’s brother and Polonius: Ophelia’s
Father. The whole play is based about Hamlet trying to take revenge or kill his father’s murderer who is Claudius. Every character in the play expresses an ugly truth to the society (the truth revealed by Shakespeare). Ophelia is a beautiful woman who is the maiden in the castle. Her character is such that she follows what people say to her. Ophelia and Hamlet were lovers but Ophelia was mostly confused whether the love was temporary or permanent. Hamlet fell in love with her once, and she believed it but did she trust him? Her character is more complex than it seems to be. She has been treated like a puppet by the people she loved; a trivial person. Shakespeare has portrayed Ophelia to the world beautifully. He has shown the world of submissive (Hamlet being a Prince and Ophelia just a maiden who loved him a lot and waited Hamlet to take a step ahead than herself doing it), woman’s sexuallity value and gender within Ophelia’s character. Her incredible fragility, sensitivity love for Hamlet and her father as well as her madness has captivated her distress.
Ophelia sings “To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime, And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes, And dupp’d the chamber-door; Let in the maid, that out a maid Never departed more. (Act 4;Scene 5). The song she sings is about a young girl losing her virginity. Then she continues singing “By Gis and by Saint Charity, Alack, and fie for shame! Young men will do’t, if they come to’t; By Cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, before you tumbled me, You promised me to wed. So would I ha’ done, by yonder sun, An thou hadst not come to my bed.” (Act 4;Scene 5). She meant before you had sex with me, you promised to marry me, well I would have married you had you not have sex with me but since you did good bye. Though Ophelia is shown as the fornicate character, Shakespeare is trying to unveil the sexually oppressive society in his time.
Laertes explains his sister that her value or the worth of her identity is based upon her virginity i.e., her sexual life. He tells her “Fear it, Ophelia; fear it, my dear sister, And keep you in the rear of your affection, Out of the shot and danger of desire. The chariest maid is prodigal enough, If she unmask her beauty to the moon.
Virtue itself ‘scapes not calumnious strokes.” (Act 1;Scene 3). He tells her that she cannot control it and Hamlet or any other guy can easily take a swing of her because her youth will rebel against herself. Therefore, he warns her to keep her legs closed since her beauty can draw every guys’ attention towards her. He tells her to honor herself and be scared that she cannot self-control her ‘value’. By reducing Ophelia to her virginity, Laertes and Polonius do something that is culture promoted. Society never accepts fornification. But during that time there were debates about female virginity. Of-course there were number of reasons why pregnancy was important: pregnancy, marriage (like Shakespeare’s wife), career and the biggest of all was having an unwanted baby.