How old is Hamlet’s Ophelia?

I know Hamlet’s 30 but I thought i ehard that Opheila was 21-ish?

Since Shakespeare doesn’t tell us, her exact age is irrelevant, just as her mother’s name is irrelevant (because her mother is never mentioned in the play).

However, it seems that Hamlet had written to her while he was in Wittenberg, which means that their romance probably began before he left for Wittenberg. So my guess is that she is at least 16. However, she could be in her late 30s – Shakespeare’s own wife was 8 years older than him.

You might be tempted to infer that Ophelia was very young because of this:

. . . you speak like a green girl . . .

I do not know, my lord, what I should think.
Marry, I’ll teach you: think yourself a baby;

But one of the main themes of the play is that both Hamlet and Ophelia were untrue to themselves by being overly obedient to their fathers. Hamlet erased himself (and his love for Ophelia) from his own brain and wrote his father’s commandment there. Ophelia let her father tell her what to think. – An Envious Sliver

I believe the main reason Hamlet’s age was specified as “30” was because he was born on the day his father won land from old Fortinbras 30 years before. I believe that 30-year interval was intended to parallel the 30-year interval from the death of Queen Mary until her widower (Prince Phillip of Spain) sent the Spanish Armada to recover England by “by strong hand and terms compulsatory.” The Memory Be Green – Hamlet in Historical Context

Source(s): Be All My Sins Remembered – Essays on Hamlet
Essays on motifs, symbolism, & themes in Hamlet.

The text doesn’t say, but she’d be a teenager. Probably around 14-16.
Juliet is just about to turn 14 in Romeo and Juliet, so we can imagine most of the young to-be-married heroins in Shakespeare would be around that age.

Answer Prime

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top