While modern critical views of Ophelia often see her as a woman tragically driven into
madness, or hysteria, this article offers a Renaissance perspective on madness in order to
lend support a more sane view of the character of Ophelia. This alternative view of Ophelia
(inspired by Foucault’s work on the topic of madness) includes a close reading of the
symbolic meaning of Ophelia’s herbs, and argues how madness is used in Shakespeare's
play to convey specific meaning.