Polonius's daughter, Laertes's sister, and Hamlet's love. As a woman, Ophelia must obey the men around her and is forced by her father first to stop speaking to Hamlet and then to help spy on him. Ophelia's loyalty to her father and resulting estrangement from Hamlet ultimately causes her to lose her mind. Though Laertes and Fortinbras are the characters usually seen as Hamlet's "doubles," Ophelia functions as a kind of female double of Hamlet—mirroring Hamlet's half-madness with her own full-blown insanity, and takes his obsession with suicide a step further and actually commits it.
The Hamlet quotes below are all either spoken by Ophelia or refer to Ophelia. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Hamlet published in 1992.).
Act 3, scene 1 Quotes
Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.
The timeline below shows where the character Ophelia appears in Hamlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 3
Act 2, scene 1
Act 2, scene 2
After a long-winded ramble about Hamlet's madness, Polonius reads love letters Hamlet sent to Ophelia. Claudius and Gertrude agree that lovesickness may be causing Hamlet's behavior. Polonius proposes that they... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
...afterlife. He observes that such thinking turns people into cowards, and action into inaction. Suddenly Ophelia enters and tries to return the gifts Hamlet gave her. He denies having ever given... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
...and says he's eating the air. Hamlet mocks Polonius's attempts to act at university, harasses Ophelia with sexual puns, then makes bitter remarks about Gertrude for marrying Claudius. (full context)
Act 4, scene 5
Act 4, scene 7
Act 5, scene 1
...a funeral procession with a coffin. The priest refuses to provide further religious services because Ophelia's death seemed like suicide. Laertes says his sister will be an angel while the priest... (full context)