Ophelia's Bewilderment

Act 1.3.99-136, by Ivy Nguyen

Pooh, you speak like a green girl (Ignorance is bliss)

I chose an image of a young girl because Polonius uses a simile comparing Ophelia to a "green girl". In this context, Polonius is labelling her as an innocent, foolish, and inexperienced girl because just like a child, they're innocent and pure, born into the world without much knowledge on life. "Think yourself a baby" (1.3.105) is a metaphor stated by Polonius, directly comparing her to a baby because Ophelia is surrounded by the idea that Hamlet's "holy vows" (1.3.114) and words is the only evidence she needs to confirm Hamlet's feelings. Ophelia's naivety is portrayed in this line since she's feeling confused regarding Hamlet's feelings towards her. She is basically convinced by all the words that Hamlet throws at her without doubting him. Ophelia believes everything that she hears and seems oblivious to the possibility that Hamlet was never really committed to her, in which as a result, reveals her innocent, foolish and ignorant self.


image source: http://7-themes.com/6973883-sweet-babygirl-wallpaper-hd.html

Almost all the holy vows of heaven (Empty promises)

I chose an image of two pinkies intertwined with each other because Ophelia takes everything so literally without question. Hamlet says one thing and she believes him. All Hamlet needs is to give "countenance to his speech" (1.3.113), to give comfort and reassure Ophelia using words and to seal it off with a promise. The effect that the simplicity of words can have on Ophelia portrays her naive character. Hamlet announces his love for her using words that escapes his mouth and according to Ophelia, the words are sealed, or backed up by the "holy vows" (1.3.114) that Hamlet made to Ophelia. Although Ophelia may seem naive and foolish for believing such words, underneath it all, there's a possibility that she's trying to cling onto as much hope as she can. An emotional, hopeless girl who tries to blind herself from reality just to satisfy her heart can possibly be the definition of the girl they call Ophelia.


image source: https://www.tumblr.com/search/pinky%20promise?%20lol%20get%20it?

He hath Importun'd me with love (Sightless love)

I chose an image of a girl smiling while covering her eyes because when one is in love, they are blinded. It's so easy to be manipulated in a relationship when one is blinded by their emotions, in which Ophelia could possibly be. The overwhelming feeling, the sudden rush of adrenaline when one touches the other is written between the lines of "With almost all that holy vows on heaven" (1.3.114). This allows the audience to make assumptions that their relationship had gotten intimate in which this had blinded Ophelia altogether and this allows the plot to advance. With the new advances in the plot, it allows the audience to see the development of their relationship. That sudden intimate moment that they shared was all it took to satisfy Ophelia and for her to put her complete trust and faith into Hamlet. Even after listening to Polonius, her mouth says "I shall obey, my lord." (1.3.136) but in reality, Ophelia's emotions toward Hamlet doesn't sway. She may be hesitant and her father's words may be in the back of her mind, but in all honesty, the perspective from someone in love (Ophelia) is completely different from one's outlook on the situation as a third party (Polonius). Ophelia doesn't see what Polonius does.


image source: http://favim.com/image/214992/

That you have ta'en these tenders for true pay which are not sterling (Fictional reality)

I chose an image of a book because when one reads, they eventually become part of the novel mentally. The reader enters the world of the novel and in this case, Ophelia is drawn into the storyline of the relationship between Hamlet and herself and their so called "love". Throughout the entire passage, Ophelia is caught in limbo. She is struggling to determine and identify the difference between reality vs. fantasy in which it shows the conflict that Ophelia has with herself. In heart, Ophelia is lingering in the fantasy world where she allows Hamlet's gestures of love to become vivid such as when she proclaims "He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders of his affection to me" (1.3.99-100). Throughout the entire passage, the main focus is on the characterization of Ophelia because she is so naive to believe what Hamlet says without a doubt and even when Polonius mentions "you have taken these tenders for true pay..." (1.3.106), her stupidity and naivety is brought up once again where she believes Hamlet's promises regarding his love for her.


image source: http://storybookstory.tumblr.com

Springes to catch woodcocks (Enclosed internally)

I chose an image of a bird cage because it depicts Ophelia's mental state at this point. Right through the passage, the audience observes Ophelia mentally struggling, trying to determine what is right and what is wrong, leading to her feeling "trapped" and "cornered" like a bird. "Ay, springs to catch woodcocks" (1.3.115) can act as a metaphor. Polonius compares Ophelia to a stupid bird that has gotten trapped in a cage, context being that Ophelia is trapped in a cage for she believes the vows that Hamlet made out to her, making the Hamlet the person who traps the stupid bird in the cage. This can also be taken in as a symbol. The symbol of "the trap" that the bird had gotten caught into, in which it represents Ophelia struggling mentally for she is overwhelmed with bewilderment regarding the fact about whether or not she believes the words and promises of Hamlet.


image source: http://rebloggy.com/post/blue-feathers-bird-misc-birdcage/14906362495

Giving more light than heat (Extinguished flame)

I chose an image of a flame from a candle because it symbolizes Hamlet's feelings towards Ophelia. A flame from a candle is temporary for it will soon be extinguished with time which in similarity is comparing the flame to Hamlet's feelings toward Ophelia. According to Polonius, "When the blood burns...Lends the tongue vows... Giving more light than heat, extinct in both." (1.3.116-118). He mentions that Hamlet is not in love with Ophelia and that the promises that he made out to Ophelia was only the results of him being "on fire". This meaning that he is using her as entertainment or out of pure interest, for "he is young, one and with a larger tether may he walk" (1.3.124-125), referring to Hamlet being young and free. Polonius compared love to heat for love does not just provide light, but heat as well. Love is a feeling where it makes one feel warm inside. But what Hamlet was feeling, wasn't love and he mentions that the fire will soon extinguish for a flame cannot be eternal.



Image source: http://www.lovethispic.com/image/32792/candle-flame