State of Energy:
Ophelia is an introvert who needs the guidance of others to find her way. Rather than consume the world, she is chewed up and spit out by those she surrounds herself with. She is completely subservient to her father. If he asked, she would genuflect at his feet, spit polish his shoes with her gown, and smile while conducting this humiliating act. Polonius, her father, utilizes this trait in order to determine the cause of Hamlet’s apparent madness. Ophelia should be adamant about not helping her father and King Claudius spy on the man she supposedly loves, but instead, she bends to the volition of her father without displaying any form of protest. Ophelia is the mindless marionette of all the characters in the play. It seems that she fears to plot her own course of action. She rather have others dictate the path she treads. Moreover, she rather live vicariously through others that experience life firsthand. Ophelia reflects the burgeoning evils of the kingdom, for the disorder of the state coincides with her madness and death. Moreover, Ophelia is quite simple. Her thoughts are about as deep as an ant’s wading pool. This character trait draws Hamlet to her. While Hamlet contemplates about death, lost in his melancholy state of mind, Ophelia would rather concern herself with things such as flowers than with such morbid subjects. In addition, Ophelia is incapable of seeing through the illusions built by the other characters. She is thoroughly convinced that Hamlet’s reason has been banished from his mind due to the onslaught of grief that he faces. Also, she demonstrates no capacity to design sinister ploys to harm the other characters in the play. Ophelia can be classified as dynamic only because of her gradual descent from sanity to madness
Taking of information:
The fountainhead of all Ophelia’s knowledge is advice. By always listening to the words of others, Ophelia loses all self-confidence. For example, Hamlet tells her that she should take up residence in a nunnery. This advice proves to be very perplexing to her. The statement incites guilt even though she cannot construe the meaning behind the words. She is utterly devoid of insights and divine intervention is not an issue, so she is completely dependent upon the guidance of the characters around her. She listens to the instructions of her father as if he is a divine sage in direct communication with God. The decisions of others act as beacons to guide her through her life. Without them, she stumbles through the darkness, tripping on roots of ignorance. When Polonius, her main source of advice, is slain by Hamlet, Ophelia loses her ability to reason. Her mind degenerates and she babbles inane songs while wildly dancing throughout the castle. Polonius, Laertes, and King Claudius all admonish her not to have a romantic relationship with Hamlet. If she would follow her heart instead of the foolish suggestions of three men, Ophelia most likely would maintain her sanity, for out of all the characters present in the play, Hamlet, ironically, gives her the only advice that has any value. He tells her not to believe his words or actions. Ophelia, however, does not have the sense to see his facade for what it is.
Coming to a conclusion:
Ophelia drowns due to a flood of advice. Ophelia’s most salient flaw is her proclivity to live her life strictly in accordance to the advice presented to her by other characters in the play. Her world is shattered when the umbilical cord of guidance, between herself and her father, is severed when Hamlet slays Polonius. Ophelia’s madness is a defense mechanism against a life where decisions are not longer made for her. To Shakespeare, too much advice is "poison in the ear." Ophelia becomes the embodiment of the chaos induced by an over abundance of advice. Shakespeare purposely makes the reader wonder whether or not Ophelia commits suicide. This confusion surrounding her death hints at the disorder that verbal instruction can bring about. Shakespeare views Ophelia as a person who compromises their convictions and identity in order to be lead on a leash by the admonishments of others. He mostly likely frowns upon this trait because his writing displays such originality. The death of Ophelia proves to be very important to the plot line because it sets in motion the collusion between King Claudius and Laertes to murder Hamlet. Laertes and Claudius run into the recently returned Hamlet at Ophelia’s funeral, and soon after this episode, they discuss a method to bring about Hamlet’s ultimate demise. In addition, it is important to the story line because with one less relationship to be worried about, Hamlet moves closer to the point where he can focus completely on vengeance.
Attitudes towards external world:
In order to answer this question, it must first be separated into two components. The first part deals with Ophelia before the madness while the second deals with her during the insanity. Ophelia possess only one horrendous quality; her propensity to allow the advice of others to supersede her personal set of convictions. Externally, Ophelia’s appearance would be pleasant to gaze upon, however, if one was to delve below the crust, they would be repelled by her one character flaw. Before the madness, as long as people had limited knowledge about Ophelia, she would most likely be able to make friends quite easily. As a relationship between Ophelia and an acquaintance grew closer, the friend would either have to accept the flaw or stop associating with her. I personally would not be able to tolerate Ophelia once I understood her, for people who are unable to think for themselves are appalling to me. Ophelia’s redeeming qualities outweigh her defects. She is attractive and very unlikely to initiate an altercation. She would probably just simply walk away from an argument. In the modern world, once the first sign of insanity manifested itself in her personality, Ophelia would be institutionalized. Certain People would be quite sympathetic about her situation and offer to help in whatever way possible. They would act in this manner because of their desire to feed the flames of their self-righteousness.