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Polonius immediately decides to go to Claudius, the new King of Denmark and also Hamlet's uncle and stepfather, about the situation.Polonius later suggests to Claudius that they hide behind an arras to overhear Hamlet speaking to Ophelia, when Hamlet thinks the conversation is private.Ophelia sings more songs and hands out flowers, citing their symbolic meanings, although interpretations of the meanings differ.
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Gender structured, too, the early modern understanding of the distinction between Hamlet's madness and Ophelia's: melancholy was understood as a male disease of the intellect, while Ophelia would have been understood as suffering from erotomania, a malady conceived in biological and emotional terms.
This discourse of female madness influenced Ophelia's representation on stage from the 1660s, when the appearance of actresses in the English theatres first began to introduce "new meanings and subversive tensions" into the role: "the most celebrated of the actresses who played Ophelia were those whom rumor credited with disappointments in love." "The greatest triumph was reserved for Susan Mountfort, a former actress at Lincoln's Inn Fields who had gone mad after her lover's betrayal.
At Ophelia's funeral, Queen Gertrude sprinkles flowers on Ophelia's grave ("Sweets to the sweet"), and says she wished Ophelia could have been Hamlet's wife (contradicting Laertes' warnings to Ophelia in the first act).
Laertes then jumps into Ophelia's grave excavation, asking for the burial to wait until he has held her in his arms one last time and proclaims how much he loved her.
Rue is well known for its symbolic meaning of regret, but the herb is also used to treat pain, bruises and has abortive qualities.
In Act 4 Scene 7, Queen Gertrude reports that Ophelia had climbed into a willow tree (There is a willow grows aslant the brook), and the branch had broken and dropped Ophelia into the brook, where she drowned.
Hamlet enters the room in a different world from the others, and recites his "To be, or not to be" soliloquy.
Hamlet approaches Ophelia and talks to her, saying "Get thee to a nunnery." Hamlet, asks Ophelia where her father is and she lies to him, saying her father must be at home. He exits after declaring, "I say we will have no more marriages." Ophelia is left bewildered and heartbroken, sure that Hamlet is insane.
Ophelia is a character in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet.
She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and potential wife of Prince Hamlet.
"Colour was a major source of stage symbolism", Andrew Gurr explains, so the contrast between Hamlet's "nighted colour" (1.2.68) and "customary suits of solemn black" (1.2.78) and Ophelia's "virginal and vacant white" would have conveyed specific and gendered associations.