Ophelia: ISFJ

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Ophelia ISFJ | Hamlet MBTI Shakespeare

Dominant Si: Ophelia knows how life was in the past, and likes it to stay that way. Unlike Hamlet, who “goes mad” mainly because he can’t handle the fact that others are apathetic about his father’s death, Ophelia goes mad purely because she cannot handle the abrupt changes in her life. Within hours of her father’s death, she has literally fallen to pieces. She knows when people are different than they used to be, and she can easily pin-point exactly what has changed. Rather than accusing Hamlet for mistreating her, she attributes his behavior to “madness,” supposedly because she knows already what he was like in the past. At the same time, Ophelia needs details in order to believe anything, which is a likely reason for why she aggrees to “spy” on Hamlet for her father. Ophelia is basically every parent’s dream. She is extremely obedient to her father because she values his wisdom and experience (he has proven himself a reliable source of knowledge). On the other hand, when her brother gives her advice, she calls him out on his hypocrisy.

Ophelia ISFJ | Hamlet MBTI Shakespeare

Auxiliary Fe: Ophelia derives her morality from outside sources (her father) rather than from her inner-self. It is only after her father’s death that she does anything that even slightly resembles the behavior of a “strumpet.” She seems more concerned about other people’s emotions than her own. When Hamlet calls her the equivalent of a whore, she gets worried about him before thinking of herself, and when she does consider her own feelings, she is more liable to believing the lies he tells her than listening to her inner-self. When she experiences strong emotions (particularly her father dying), she doesn’t know how to handle them, and where Hamlet thinks suicide through logically, Ophelia acts on it emotionally by becoming mad and accidentally drowning (if that’s the version you believe). Ophelia doesn’t let too many people into her life because her emotions are easily influenced by others, and when she is betrayed (more or less) by Hamlet, she is heartbroken. She’s relatively open about her feelings, and instead of speaking in riddles like Hamlet, she addresses her concerns directly with others (initially, her father, and after his death, everyone else).

Ophelia ISFJ | Hamlet MBTI Shakespeare

Tertiary Ti: Ophelia doesn’t have too much patience for long-winded dialogue when she can’t see a direct application to her life, thus her annoyance with Laertes’ relationship advice. She is quick to point out the inconsistency in his words (that he’s a hypocrite), and does the same with Hamlet. “I never gave you aught.” “My honour’d lord, you know right well you did.” Ophelia is a very emotional character, but is logical enough to see the value in her father’s instruction to be careful with Hamlet. She is able to set aside her own feelings in order to follow his directions to the letter (this may also be coupled with an Fe desire to make her father happy). At the same time, we know that Ophelia is a very sheltered, innocent character. She may be logical enough to see the value of her father’s instructions, but she isn’t logical enough to stop over-investing herself in the harmful relationship she has with Hamlet.

Ophelia ISFJ | Hamlet MBTI Shakespeare

Inferior Ne: Firm though Ophelia is in her beliefs, she has a romantic side that ends up putting her in situations that her emotionally harmful to her. She is very reluctant to let go of what is past and accept what is changing in her life. When she sees Hamlet’s craze she cries, “O heavenly powers, restore him!” and when her father dies, she falls into madness herself. Intuition is a weak area for Ophelia, and she often misses the meaning behind the things that Hamlet says. For instance, when he asks to lie upon her lap, he makes several sarcastic comments inferring that she is immoral, but in her innocence, she does not recognize his insult.

Once again, we have a character who suffers from depression (in the latter end of the play). Also, I might mention that she has a relatively abusive boyfriend…who frequently calls her a whore (despite all evidence to the contrary). Every male character who speaks to or about her defends her by her sexuality, so it’s very likely that her inability to make decisions for herself can be attributed to abuse, sexism and patriarchal pressure.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s