Family Pressures

In Hamlet, the concept of pressures brought on by families is prominent through many characters including Hamlet, Ophelia, Laertes, and Gretrude. For Hamlet, dealing with the grief and emotions brought on by his late father is enough strain on his emotional state, however he must also deal with the events that occur following his father’s death, such as his mother, Gretrude’s new marriage, as well as his destined future to become a suitable king someday. He ultimately is faced with adversities that shift his character and cause him to endure emotions towards his family he otherwise would not have undergone. He is led into madness, hate, and sadness due the family pressures around him, especially with his mother who he views as weak after she remarries in less than two months after his father’s death. He is angry with her, and distraught at the fact of how she could commit an act that denotes to such betrayal, yet he seen conflicted at some points where he still sympathizes with her and is gentle towards her. Then he is faced with yet another family pressure of having to avenge his father’s death by killing his uncle. He is evidently in conflict with himself and surroundings as his quest for reassurance eventually leads him to his spiral of madness towards committing acts almost blindly and without reason. He is very calculated and surely, he carries through with all his plans so he can be sure he is going to be killing his uncle for the right reason. Being told one thing by a family member and needing to be conflicted whether it is worth it is a very common dispute with many individuals. Ophelia also faces family pressures as she must choose her father over the man she loves. She was very quick and seemingly easy to choose her father, but eventually we see her break as well due to the loss of Hamlet’s love, and when she no longer has her family or her lover, she ultimately undergoes a downfall as she has no one to turn to and must reflect on all her decisions and impurities.



In my life, I have faced and continue to face the pressures and adversities associated with my family. My parents are very strict on me, and being the oldest, I have a lot of pressure on mne to be the best example for my siblings and to make sure all wrongs are righted and no bad things happen on my part or anyone else’s. Like Ophelia, I am dependent on my parents to provide for me and give me the life that I am able to live everyday. Without them, I am lost and struggle to survive in the world. Everything I do has to be accepted, facilitated, or monitored by them and everything I wish to do on my own accord I must do in secret. Like Ophelia, I hide my love life. My parents found out about me having a boyfriend, and of course being a traditional indian family, did not approve. I was forced and faced with the pressure of having to listen to my dad or continue seeing this boy who I had genuinely gained feelings for. I still to this day am in a constant state of pressure having to balance the life I want to live with the status quo my parents and family expect for me. And not matter how ridiculous or draining it is having my parents always nag me to be a certain way, I love them enough to continue to deal with it. This is very similar to Ophelia as she balances Hamlet with her father. However, like Hamlet, there are many times where I am led into a broken emotional state where I struggle to deal with the family pressures and there has been a recent event in my life where I was led into madness because of my family and became a person far from my actual self.




In family, you must always accept and love them for who they are, and are taught that you must learn to empathize with those you share blood with. Family is the primary socialization of individuals and we share such a significant time of our lives dedicated to our families. However, with family comes the pressure to be a certain way, and to do certain things. These things can be very draining for some, and we all deal with it in different ways. Ultimately, there is either total rejection of living up to these pressures, or acceptance where we follow through with dealing with them where we deal with them in different ways. Some will be in a state of denial and continue to question and challenge these pressures, however, the need to accept and commit to family will always overrule, which depending on the severity, can lead one into total madness.



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One thought on “Family Pressures

  1. Dear Sunena,

    Thank you so much for your relations to the character Ophelia in such a personal sense for that takes bravery. I love the different connections you made with yourself as well the underlining connection between each character- Which is not only love but also adversity. I would just like to suggest that your introduction does show the emotions that the characters deal with but I’d offer to try to keep it mainly focused on Ophelia. Also I would like to add that most of your lines began with the word “he” and that for me, is a personal problem as well because I struggle with sentence structure. Another thing I noticed is that the last sentence could be broken down further and further explained which could add more Ophelia to your beginning. You are an amazing connector and I can see the heart you put into this piece. I would just ask to see the different branches of Ophelia through the first paragraph so that the comparison and parallels could be added later on.
    Amazing job Sunena, I hope you keep writing because people need to hear your voice and your story.

    Suneet Sidhu

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