Ophelia used to be romantically involved with Hamlet, but lately he has been acting very strangely, cursing marriage and telling her he never loved her, talking to himself, and saying nonsensical things to everyone. This change in Hamlet, who she once had great admiration for, causes great pain to Ophelia. In this speech, she laments Hamlet’s descent into madness, comparing the shining example of intelligence and strength that he used to be with the fragmented, tormented person he is now…
Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!—
The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword,
Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion and the mould of form,
Th’ observed of all observers, quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
That sucked the honey of his music vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;
That unmatched form and feature of blown youth
Blasted with ecstasy. Oh, woe is me,
T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!