Ophelia and Mariana

Ophelia & Mariana

Throughout the texts Hamlet and Mariana by Shakespeare and Alfred, we see many similarities between the two texts. For example, In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia has repressed feelings that eventually cause her to go mad in the end and commit suicide. Nonetheless, In the poem, Mariana by Alfred, Mariana is constantly repeating how dreary her life is at the end of each stanza. She seems to fancy the thought of her own death and hopes that it soon will find her. This constant thought causes her to kill herself in the end, just like Ophelia did. Both characters in the texts Hamlet and Mariana represent signs of isolation from being dismissed or rejected by their lovers. They also represent the feeling of hopelessness and deep sorrow. 

Many readers could think that back then, having emotions was considered a sign of madness. Some could even argue that Ophelia did not go mad but rather had the label of madness put on her just because of her overflow of emotions. Some could blame it on the conception of madness back then, but I strongly feel as if Ophelia actually went mad. Ophelia did not have enough time to grieve for her loss of Hamlet and her father. This led to repressed feelings which could be shown through her common mood swings and the amount of distress that she went through. Ophelia was clearly desperate and lost her sense of self. “Her speech is nothing, Yet the unshapèd use of it doth move the hearers to collection. They yawn at it and botch the words up fit to their own thoughts, which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them, indeed would make one think there might be thought, though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.” (IV.v). This scene shows a man expressing to Gertrude and Horatio his concern for Ophelia and her inability to speak clearly. He thinks that her nonsense words are a sign of her going crazy, therefore, he mentions how her words meant nothing to him. It got to the point where people began to botch up Ophelia’s words just to make sense of it in their own way. Ophelia was crying for help and no one cared to notice. “Ophelia, walk you here. (Gracious, so please ye, We will bestow ourselves.) Read on this book that show of such an exercise may colour your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this— ‘Tis too much proved that with devotion’s visage and pious action we do sugar o’er the devil himself.” (Act 1.5).  Here, Polonius hands Ophelia a book which he thinks could help lessen her loneliness. He mentioned something about the devil which could show the severity of Ophelia’s loneliness. Ophelia’s peers were aware of her madness, but no one answered her cry for help. She even began to sing strange songs right before she killed herself. Many of these songs made no sense, but one thing was very clear about it. She sang mostly about her late father and the sexual aspect of men that she blames her madness for. “Young men will do’t if they come to’t, By Cock they are to blame.” (IV.v.). This is also a tell-tale sign that her father’s passing and her love for Hamlet could be the reasoning behind her madness. Near her death, Ophelia often talked to herself and made psycho movements and gestures when dancing. Many could say that Ophelia’s death was an accident, but I believe otherwise. Ophelia fell to her death, and could not find a good enough purpose to stay on this earth and save herself from drowning. 

On the other hand, the poem Mariana written by Aldfred represented the concept of madness and hopelessness. The woman in the poem shared similar characteristics as Ophelia. They both carried a sad, strange, and dreary manner with them. “About the lonely moated grange. She only said, ‘The day is dreary, He cometh not,’ she said; She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary, I would that I were dead!’” (Stanza 6). Here, Mariana describes how the conflict in her life and how her lover has essentially abandoned her. She explains how dreary the day is and that she has a desire of wanting to be dead. In Stanza 6, Mariana mentioned how she felt no hope of change as the cold winds and the “greyed eyes morn”. Also, in stanza 3, Mariana explains how she feels free and happy in her sleep “In sleep she seem’d to walk forelorn” (Stanza 3). This line could represent that she is only free in her dreams. It could also represent that the only time that she feels okay is when she is sleeping. This is an obvious sign of depression and grief in someone. There are also many instances in which Mariana explains the dreariness of her days and how she yearns to be dead. One can notice some madness in the poem by noticing that Mariana keeps repeating herself in the poem. She also mentions how the sounds of nature are slowly driving her insane which makes us sympathize with her and her wishes for her own death. “The sparrow’s chirrup on the roof, the slow clock ticking, and the sound which to the wooing wind aloof the poplar made, did all confound her sense; but most she loathed the hour when the thick-moted Athwart the chambers, and the day was sloping toward his western bower. Then said she, “I am very dreary, He will not come,” she said; She wept, “I am aweary, aweary, Oh God, that I were dead!” (Stanza 7). This is the last stanza in the poem that represents her state of mind that she left the world with. It got to the point where she could no longer deal with the noises of the chirps, the tick of the clock, or even the sound of the wind. These were the last moments and thoughts that Mariana had before she killed herself. 

Both characters in the text long for a connection with a certain man, which initially leads to their suicides. They are abandoned by others and long for love and security. Ophelia in the play Hamlet and the poem Mariana both initially end in suicide. There seems to be no hope of change in either of the characters in the text. A huge similarity between Ophelia and Mariana is the significance of the tree. In the last acts of Ophelia, she had climbed into a willow tree with all of her flowers and soon fell right to her death. The branch of the tree broke which dropped her into the water where she initially drowned and killed herself. On the other hand, In stanza 4 of Mariana, Mariana looks out of her window and notices a singular tree standing desolate and alone. This depressing sight triggers her into being in even more low spirits and is a part of what leads to her suicide. Ophelia and Mariana both have lost their sense of morality and their sense of self or self-awareness. Ophelia and Mariana both went mad in their final scenes. They could no longer handle the feelings that they were experiencing. One thing that differs between the two is that Ophelia had kept most of her feelings inside, with the opportunity to express how she felt. Mariana seemed to be alone throughout the entire poem. She really seemed like she had no one to talk to or even express her feelings to. I feel for both of these characters. They act as characters of tragedy because of the unfortunate circumstances that they both have experienced. Mariana and Ophelia are characters that cause the readers to feel a sort of pity for them. They truly are characters of disaster.

Overall, the poem Mariana written by Alfred, and Ophelia in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare, both represent the significance of madness and the result of their repressed feelings. Both characters end up going mad in the end for primarily the same reason. The feeling of abandonment and isolation. By the end of Hamlet and Mariana, both characters end up committing suicide. We aren’t exactly sure why both characters end up committing this act, but the readers have a pretty solid idea. The characters are mysterious and questionable in their thoughts of madness and the reasoning behind their treacherous acts. Both characters in the texts Hamlet and Mariana represent signs of abandonment from being rejected by their past lovers. 

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