Ophelia and Melancholia

Ophelia displays all the signs of a classic Melancholic as a result of the combined loss of her former lover Hamlet, and the loss of her father at the hands of Hamlet himself. Ophelia is forced away from Hamlet by several means, including Hamlet’s own rejection of her and her brother and father’s warnings about Hamlet’s unworthiness. The result of these losses is Ophelia reaching a pathological stage of mourning, what Freud would call Melancholia, and, in the end, her suicide. While it is possible that Ophelia would have gone into a state of Melancholia following her father’s death regardless of the circumstances preceding it, it isn’t far fetched to assume that she was pushed to Melancholia by the actions of Hamlet, Polonius, and Laertes.

Ophelia and Melancholia