Content Category

Literary Criticism

Abstract/Description

In this paper, I explore Ophelia's supposed descent into 'insanity' in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Using Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, I conclude that instead of descending into insanity, Ophelia moved beyond reason in order to acquire personal truth that wasn't available to her within the realm of traditional reason. In the end, instead of assuming a passive role, Ophelia's character actively rejects the limitations of reason, allowing her to become more than just a passive object of tragic circumstances. Variations within the Quarto and Folio versions of the play support the conclusion that Ophelia actively sought to redefine her world and reality in the face of tragedy and emotional trauma. Her move beyond reason and subsequent suicide become symbolic gestures of her ultimate desires for freedom from a world of oppression.

Origin of Submission

as part of a class

Faculty Involvement

Brandie R. Siegfried

Location

4188 JFSB

Start Date

17-3-2016 12:15 PM

End Date

17-3-2016 1:15 PM

Share

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Mar 17th, 12:15 PM Mar 17th, 1:15 PM

Beyond Reason: Ophelia's Quest for Truth

4188 JFSB

In this paper, I explore Ophelia's supposed descent into 'insanity' in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Using Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, I conclude that instead of descending into insanity, Ophelia moved beyond reason in order to acquire personal truth that wasn't available to her within the realm of traditional reason. In the end, instead of assuming a passive role, Ophelia's character actively rejects the limitations of reason, allowing her to become more than just a passive object of tragic circumstances. Variations within the Quarto and Folio versions of the play support the conclusion that Ophelia actively sought to redefine her world and reality in the face of tragedy and emotional trauma. Her move beyond reason and subsequent suicide become symbolic gestures of her ultimate desires for freedom from a world of oppression.