As we’ve seen over the last few weeks, the Folger Shakespeare library offers insightful materials for students and teachers alike. Ophelia’s descent into madness and subsequent suicide prove to be of little exception. In preparation for the first discussion activity, please view the video entitled Ophelia and Madness [Video File] [04 min 03 sec]. https://youtu.be/MhJWwoWCD4w
Image of a painting of a girl in a pond in water lilies In the video, Lindsey Wochley (Ophelia) offers some insights into Ophelia’s madness as depicted in Hamlet IV, scene v. The actress states “decisions are made for her [Ophelia] all the way up until when she goes mad. She makes her own decisions, then.” This statement offers an interesting perspective on madness in Hamlet in general and Ophelia’s madness, in particular.
King Claudius offers perspectives on why Ophelia goes mad, but he is hardly a dependable character. Based on the form that her madness takes, in a post of at least 250 words, why do you think that Ophelia has gone mad? Please give evidence for your thoughts from throughout the play, and Act IV, scene v, in particular
What can drive a pretty, sweet and intelligent young girl to madness? Ophelia seems to have everything a girl could ever need – a good place in court, a family who dotes on her, and a man who is seriously devoted to her. But like any girl in her time, she is a weak character. She is obedient to a fault (Folger Library, 2010). She is unable to make decisions about what is right and what is wrong, in fact, she may even have trouble realizing that she actually has a choice.