Shakespeare’s Ophelia Immodest?

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‘For Modesty as Mr. Rapin observes, is┬áthe Character of Women. To represent them without this Quality, is to make Monsters of them, and throw them out of their Kind. Euripides, who was no negligent Observer of Humane Nature, is always careful of this Decorum. Thus Phaedra when possess’d with an infamous Passion, takes all imaginable pains to conceal it. She is as regular and reserv’d in her Language as the most virtuous Matron. ‘Tis true, the force of Shame and Desire; The Scandal of Satisfying, and the difficulty of parting with her Inclinations, disorder her to Distraction. However, her Frensy is not Lewd; She keeps her Modesty even after She has lost her Wits. Had Shakespear secur’d this point for his young Virgin Ophelia, the Play had been better contriv’d. Since he was resolv’d to drown the Lady like a Kitten, he should have set her a swimming a little sooner. To keep her alive only to sully her Reputation, and discover the Rankness of her Breath, was very Cruel.’

Jeremy Collier, A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage (1698)

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