| Quote #4
I shall the effect of this good lesson keep,
After Laertes warns his little sister about the dangers of premarital sex, Ophelia points out the double standard at work in Laertes's advise. In other words, our girl's not afraid to tell her bro that he's got no room to talk about chastity, especially given that he's been running around like a "puff'd and reckless libertine." Ophelia's remarks here also demonstrate that she's not necessarily the wimp some literary critics paint her to be. Here, she gives as good as she gets. So, what happens to Ophelia?
| Quote #5
After a lengthy speech about why Ophelia can't trust anything Hamlet says or promises (including any and all "vows" of love), Polonius orders Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. As an unmarried daughter, Ophelia has no choice but to "obey," and she does. We soon learn that Ophelia rejects all of Hamlet's letters and refuses to see him. When Polonius questions her she says "as you did command / I did repel his letters and denied / His access to me" (2.1.5). Polonius then uses Ophelia as bait to spy on Hamlet and, as an obedient daughter, she has no other option than to go along with whatever her father says (3.1.2). Essentially, Ophelia is powerless – over her own body, over her relationships, and over her activities. It's no wonder that she cracks later in the play, after Hamlet verbally abuses her and then murders her father.
| Quote #6
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
Whoa! Hamlet's pretty hard on himself for not being able to avenge his father's murder. But why does he call himself a "whore" and a "scullion"? Hamlet seems to think that not avenging his father's murder makes him a coward and, therefore, like a woman. And, since Hamlet thinks all women are "whores," he must be one too. He also sees his inability to carry out the Ghost's orders as a betrayal of his father. As we know, Hamlet associates betrayal with women, especially his mother.