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Ophelia's Insanity Fever Chart
Transcript of Ophelia's Insanity Fever Chart
"'Tis in my memory locked, And you yourself shall keep the key of it." (I. iii 85-86)
Here Ophelia is taking Laertes' advice and agrees to stay away from Hamlet. She shows rational and thought out behavior.
What major plot events are seen as the cause of Ophelia's fall into insanity? Ultimately, who's to blame?
"I shall the effect of this
good lesson keep As watchman to my heart. But,
good my brother, Do not as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, While like a
puffed and reckless libertine Himself the primrose path of dalliance
treads And recks not his own rede." (I. iii, 45-51)
Ophelia is shown here to be in a rational state of mind; as seen by her openness to her brother's advice concerning her relationship with Hamlet.
"O my lord, my lord, I have been so affrighted!"
(II. i, 74).
Here Ophelia comes to Polonius in a fright. This
is the first instance where her sanity drops below
the normal rational level.
"My lord, as I was sewing in my closet, Lord Hamlet with his doublet all unbraced, No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled, Ungartered
and down-gyved to his ankle, Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other, And with a look so piteous in purport As if he had been loosed out of hell To speak of horrors--he comes before me." (II. I 76-84).
Ophelia recounts her encounter with Hamlet. Seeing Hamlet's physical state has caused her to have concern about the mental state of her previous lover.
"He took me by the wrist, and held me hard, Then goes he to the length of all his arm, And with his other hand thus o'er his brow, He falls to such perusal of my face As 'a would draw it. Long stayed he so. At last, a little shaking of mine arm, And thrice his head thus waving up and down, He raised a sigh so piteous and profound As it did seem to shatter all his bulk, And end his being. That done, he lets me go, And with his head over his shoulder turned He seemed to find his way without his eyes, For out adoors he went without their helps, And to the last bended their light on me." (II. I 86-99).
Ohelia's terrifying experience with Hamlet has unsetteled her and she is more convinced of Hamlet's insanity. And becuase of this experience she has grown to fear for Hamlet.
"No, my good lord, but as you did command I did repel his letters, and denied His access to me" (II. i 107-109)
Ohpelia shows her fear of Hamlet now as she agrees to avoid Hamlet at all costs.
Ophelia, walk you here.-Gracious, so please you, We will bestow ourselves. Read on this book, That show of such an exercise my color Your loneliness.-We are oft to blame in this, 'Tis too much proved, that with devotion's visage And pious action we do sugar o'er The devil himself." (III. i 44-48).
This quote is made by Polonius. Here he comments on her lonely emotional state caused by Hamlet's "insanity".
"My lord, I have remembrances of yours That I have longed to re-deliver. I pray you now receive them."
(III. i 92-94)
Ophelia meets with Hamlet and returns his items to him. Ophelia acts submissively, but acts still much calmer than Hamlet.
"And with them words of so sweet breath composed As made the things more rich. Their perfume lost, Take these again, for to the noble mind Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind." (III. i, 98-101)
Ophelia, in response to Hamlet's rough remarks, is
upset, but still reamains more calm than Hamlet.
"Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?" (III. i 118)
These harsh words spoken by Hamlet rattles Ophelia, helping to nudge her into insanity.
"And I of ladies most deject and wretched, That sucked the honey of his music vows, Now see that noble and most sovereign reason Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh; That unmatched form and feature of blown youth Blasted with ecstasy. O, woe is me T' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!" (III. i 146-152)
Ophelia takes pity on herself and becomes more depressed about her self, as seen in words like "ladies most deject and wretched".
"Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?" (III. ii 109).
Ophelia questions Hamlet showing a moment of mental clarity despite previously being verbaly attacked by Hamlet.
"I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying." (III. ii 215-216)
Spoken by Hamlet. By repeatedly attacking Ophelia's motive for getting close to him, Ophelia questions her true intent leading to mental instability.
“She speaks much of her father, says she hears There’s tricks i’ th’ world, and hems, and beats her heart, Spurns enviously at straws, speaks things in doubt That carry but half sense” (IV,v,4-7)
Spoken by a Gentleman. The bystander's point of view tells a lot about Ophelia's current mental state; being unstable and very confused.
"Larded all with sweet flowers; Which bewept to the grave did not go With true-love showers." (IV. v 36-38).
Ophelia talks about flowers and graves, this foreshadows his eventual suicide.
“ Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a baker’s daughter. Lord, we know not what we are, but know who not what we may be. God be at your table” (IV, v, 40-41).
Ophelia shows no sign of happiness or joy only sadness when Hamlet labels her as a traitor and an untruthful lover.
“ Young men will do’t, if they come to’; By Cock, they are to blame” (IV, v, 57-58)
Ophelia reflects on her current mental state of hatred and torture cause by men, Hamlet in particular.
I hope all will be well. We must be patient, but i cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him i’ th’ cold ground” (IV, v, 65-66)
Ophelia now believes and blames herself to what is happening to Hamlet and, as a result, becomes more sorrowful and lost. She also begins to lean more towards suicide.
"Poor Ophelia Divided from herself and her fair judgment, Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts;" (IV. v 79-81)
Spoken by King Claudius. Here the King comments on the sad sight that is Ophelia's slip into insanity.
" O, heat dry up my brains! Tears seven times salt Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye” (IV, v, 150-151)
Spoken by Laertes. The audience sees the depth and effects of Ophelia's deppresion on the people close to her.
“ I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say a’ made a good end” (IV, v, 174-175)
Ophelia shows a mild obbsession of her father's death, but it is her comment on the violets that show the audience that her sanity (represented by the flowers) died along with her father.
“ And so I have a noble father lost, A sister driven into desp’rate terms” (IV, vii, 25-26)
Spoken by Laertes. This shows his realization that his life and family have been ruined, his father died and his sister is falling into madness as a result.
"And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up, Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes, As one incapable of her own distress” (IV, vii, 175-177)
Spoken by the Queen. Here we find out that Ophelia has committed suicide, which the audience connects to her mental state based on the last act, in which Ophelia acted very insane.
"It must be 'se offendendo'; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: if I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act, and an act hath three branches--it is to act, to do, to perform; argal, she drowned herself wittingly." (V.i, 7-9)
Spoken by the Clown. Here the clown argues if Ophelia truly was insane and accidently drowned or just very depressed and committed suicide. Either way, Ophelia was not very emotionally stable.
"Her death was doubtful, And but that great command o'ersways the order, She should in ground unsanctified been lodged Till the last trumpet. for charitable prayers, Shards, flints, and pebbles should be thrown on her." (V. i 177-180).
Spoken by the Priest. Those who did not witness Ophelia's fall into insanity think it was a calulated suicide, and thus a sin. While those who witnessed her instability feel it was not her choice, like Laertes and Hamlet.
"Sings. And will he not come again? And will he not come again? No, no, he is dead: Go to thy death-bed: He never will come again. His beard was as white as snow, All flaxen was his poll: He is gone, he is gone, And we cast away moan: God ha' mercy on his soul! And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' you." (IV, v, 169-178)
Here Ophelia starts to sing to herslef about the death of her father and truly expresses the unstable personality that has been growing since her father's death.
"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts."
(IV, v, 155-158)
Ophelia shows her true insanity when she talks about her father's death and sings of flowers. This foreshadows her suicide.
"There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue for you; and here's some for me: we may call it herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died: they say he made a good end" (IV, v, 160-165)
Ophelia continues to talk of flowers to her brother for no reason, showing her unstable insanity.
"Larded all with sweet flowers; 2900 Which bewept to the grave did not go With true-love showers."
(IV, v, 37-39)
Ophelia talks about flowers and graves, foreshadowing her eventual suicide.
"Say you? nay, pray you, mark. (Sings.) He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; 30 At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone." (IV, v, 28-32)
Ophelia shows her deep obsession with death and her father's death, this deeply troubles her brother because she shows that she is truly insane.
"You must sing a-down a-down, An you call him a-down-a. O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter." (VI, v, 151-154)
Ophelia once again starts randomly singing nonsense, this dissettles her brother and helps to convince the audience of her apparent insanity.
Using concrete details from Shakespeare's Hamlet, develop a well organized essay detailing Ophelia's decent into insanity and determine who is to blame. Be sure to focus on why Shakespeare decided to make Ophelia go insane.