Ophelia’s Mistreatment and Ignored Monastic Opportunities
M.A. Thesis, Seton Hall University, May (2010)
I will argue that Ophelia could have saved her own life if she had left home and fled to a nunnery; the treatment she received from Laertes and Polonius was worse than Hamlet’s treatment of her throughout the play and especially in Act 3.1. Through thorough research, the play met,by William Shakespeare, is explored, This thesis specifically focuses on the character of Ophelia and Ophelia’s relationships with Hamlet, Laertes and Polonius. Through the examination of Ophelia, with a literature review of Ophelia’s reputation amongst scholars, the argument is made that Hamlet’s treatment of Ophelia is one of love and kindness during the nunnery scene, while her father and brother’s treatment of her is harsh and cruel. The suggestion is made that Ophelia had entered a nunnery as Hamlet instructed her to do, she would have fulfilled the longing she had for a mother, as well as have opportunities in leadership in education; this is something women lacked during this time.