- In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the daughter of Polonius, lord chamberlain at the Danish court. Ophelia loves Hamlet but repels hisromantic overtures when instructed to do so by her father. Hamlet's subsequentcruelty towards Ophelia, and his accidental slaying of her father, finallydrive her out of her mind and she appears in two pathetic mad scenes. Finally,she is reported to have drowned in a brook while wreathed in "fantasticgarlands" of wild flowers. Actresses to excel in the role have includedSarah Siddons and Ellen Terry.