Ophelia’s songs in Hamlet

Dunn: Ophelia as the emblem – ‘Laertes calls Ophelia a ‘document in madness.’ Laertes sees Ophelia as an emblem, and is not alone in this tendency to emblematise Ophelia: Hamlet also is quick to construe her in terms of cultural stereotypes, as the ‘woman’ whose name is frailty.’
Dunn: Ophelia using music – ‘Ophelia’s songs dominate her mad scene, not only in their profusion, but in their disruptive and invasive power.’- ‘From her first entrance, Ophelia uses singing to command attention and confuse response, frustrating Gertrude’s attempts to contain her utterance within the bounds of polite conversation.’- ‘Claudius tries another strategy of containment… But Ophelia again uses music as a means of resistance.’

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