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Ophelia, Laertes’s sister and Polonius’s daughter, faces a crucial conflict of emotions by Hamlet’s proposal of love to her. This engenders her to seek the counsel of her brother as regards the issue and its credibility. This instance shows her naivety on the issues of love. Her vulnerability to the advances of Hamlet is vivid, and it makes her brother inclined to give her a lesson in love. In Act I scene iii, Laertes leaves for Paris and gives his sister advice to guard her virginity. Her virginity shows her juvenile nature and innocence. It also shows that Ophelia has been distant from men as she is chaste.

Furthermore, Ophelia can be seen as yielding and resigned in Act I as she speaks to Laertes. Her brother dismisses her feelings for Hamlet without any second thoughts, and his sister does not seem to resist. This elucidates that Ophelia is subject to whatever her brother says. This also makes her look vulnerable as advice with particular innuendos her brother gives her meets no resistance from her.

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In Act III scene i, Ophelia again appears to be dependent, docile and obedient to her father in resisting Hamlet’s advances. Even the desperate display of love by Hamlet does not sway her discipline and obedience to her father and brother. The episode of Hamlet’s confusion about “love” also shows that both Ophelia and her father are vulnerable to manipulation by Hamlet, since they believed that he is in love with Ophelia.

The main Ophelia’s tragedy is the lack of control of her life. She has to obey her father and brother to the latter, as society dictates. Thus, she cannot express her emotions at her own discretion, but only the way her father and brother want it. This makes her a tool of her father to read Hamlet’s mind. The trap of the society places Ophelia in the situation when she, as a woman, is subject to her father until her marriage, after which she will be subject to her husband. This is why she lives the life where her priorities do not matter.

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