In William Shakespeareâ€™s play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, each character tends to stand out in different ways. Opheliaâ€™s character shows the reader that she is weak through the complete male dominance in her thoughts and actions. Opheliaâ€™s madness is a result of many factors: her inability to stand up for her self, Hamletâ€™s cruel treatment, and the death of her father. .
Ophelia is influenced and controlled by those around her. This is evident in Act I when Laertes tells her to be wary of Hamlet and his intentions. When he speaks with Ophelia he warns her â€œbest safety lies in fearâ€ (1.3.43.) Ophelia responds to her brother by telling him she will keep his advice â€œas watchman to my heartâ€ (1.3.46.) In this scene Ophelia takes her brotherâ€™s advice without an argument. When Polonius enters, he begins where Laertes left off. Polonius orders her not to see Hamlet any more, to which Ophelia responds, â€œI shall, obey my Lordâ€ [1.3.135.] It is evident in this scene that Laertes and Polonius command her to do things that she does not agree with, but she does them with no argument. Afraid to stand up for herself, she stands back and watches everyone else control her life. â€œMotherless and completely circumscribed by the men around her, Ophelia has been shaped to conform to external demands, to reflect others' desiresâ€ (Dane). Here Dane suggests that Ophelia has no motherly influence and is controlled by the men in her life. She is molded to please othersâ€™ wishes. Another instance of her being told what to do is when she agrees to speak with Hamlet. She returns all his gifts to help prove Poloniusâ€™ suspicion that Hamlet is mad for Opheliaâ€™s love. It is obvious throughout the play that Ophelia is ordered around by Laertes and Polonius, and obeys them without a moment's thought. Polonius and Laertes act as though she has no mind of her own, but she listens and does as they wish, so it seems she cannot think for herself.