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|There's at least one more factor
Written by Laraine
(5/22/2003 2:06 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Ophelia's insanity ~ plausible?, penned by Kristen G.
If in fact the contempt Hamlet shows toward her in the nunnery scene is justified, perhaps she cannot bear it.
My own theory is that Ophelia made the fatal mistake of thinking she could discern the truth, that she could know whom to trust (that is, her father). She is a victim of all the the deceit and spying going on in Elsinor.
Consider her snatches of song and dialogue in 4.5:
Ophelia: . . .How should I your true love knowThese are all bits of questions about trustworthiness and betrayal, about knowing whom to trust, about knowing who we are. It's a bit of a puzzle to decipher whether or not Ophelia feels betrayed by Hamlet or by her father, and there are hints both ways. Horatio (or the Nurse, depending on the text one reads) tells us at the opening of the scene,
She speaks much of her father; says she hearsIn other words, one cannot determine the meaning, or the truth, of what Ophelia now says, but that does not prevent people from believing they have, from projecting their own meaning on what is said.
I think much of the reason that she is on stage at this point is that she shows the audience a frightening and pitiful example of what happens when we when we listen to spies or participate in spying ourselves, when we let ourselves be led astray by failed communication.
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