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Olivia McMahon

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Finalist

Bio

I am incredibly passionate about medicine and health sciences. My dream is to become a dermatologist with my own practice. I have been interested in the health field since I was little with the most common playtime in my house being "clinic." In the fall, I will be attending Trinity College Dublin in Ireland to study a degree in Biological and Biomedical sciences. My plan is to return to the states after these four years to continue my medical education. I also have a love of research. During my high school experience, I have conducted research with George Mason University surrounding possible fluctuations in lactate levels based on menstrual phase. Starting my freshman year, I will continue my participation in medical research under the faculty of Trinity College. Between my undergraduate and graduate education, I plan to dedicate an entire year to research. Outside of STEM, I adore the performing arts. I have been acting since I was four years old after I saw a particularly amazing production of Mary Poppins. It wasn't until I was 11 that I started acting professionally in plays, musicals, films, television, and voice overs. If you ever hear an Office Depot radio commercial with a little girl, you may be listening to me! While my major does not include the arts, theater will continue to be a large part of my life and time in college. Financing the path to becoming a doctor is not easy. With many years ahead of me at numerous institutions, any help to follow my dreams is greatly appreciated.

Education

Rock Ridge High School

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other
  • Planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Medicine

    • Dream career goals:

      Physician

    • Actor

      Office Depot Commercial, Signature Theater, Olney Theater, NextStop,
      2015 – Present9 years

    Sports

    Dancing

    Club
    2012 – Present12 years

    Research

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other

      George Mason University — Study Reviewer
      2023 – 2024

    Arts

    • Rock Ridge Performing Arts

      Design
      Treasure Island, Matilda, 21 Chump Street, Scared Silly, The Trench
      2020 – Present
    • Signature Theater, Olney Theater, NextStop Theater, etc.

      Acting
      To Kill a Mockingbird, Annie, Billy Elliot, The Giver, Exc.
      2012 – Present

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Cappies — Published Critic
      2022 – Present
    • Volunteering

      Schoolhouse — College Board Certified SAT Tutor
      2023 – 2024
    • Advocacy

      Loudoun County Performing Arts Teachers — Advocate, spoke at school board and held email campaigns
      2022 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      Hopes and Seams — Created over 1,000 masks to donate
      2020 – 2021
    • Volunteering

      Loudoun County Animal Hospital — Shadow
      2022 – 2024
    • Volunteering

      Tacy Foundation — Volunteer
      2022 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Politics

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Minecraft Forever Fan Scholarship
    My sister and I were trouble. Having a sister five years apart means that fights weren't over stolen clothes, they were about what we would do together. When I was watching shows like the Office and Parks and Recreation, Gracie was still on Sofia the First. I wasn't interested in playing with any of her dolls; I was too busy making really awful Musical.ly videos. She was too young to be around the oven when I baked and I was too old to fit into her collapsable princess tent. Minecraft was the only thing we could do together. We first downloaded the app in 2018 when she was 7 and I was 12. It took all our saved tooth fairy money combined together. I played on my new phone, her on the family iPad. Our first few weeks playing the game we were far too scared to play on survival mode. Flying in creative beat zombies and creepers any day. In that time, we made a cruise ship, a mall, SpongeBob's pineapple, and massive matching mansions. Together we would build entire towns together. Gracie was often the decorator and I the architect. The first time I went to sleep away camp was in the summer of eight grade. In the mountains of the camp grounds, I spent two weeks away from cellular service, air conditioning, and my family. I had never been away from my parents and sister for that long. During our everyday cabin rest time I wrote a letter back home detailing everything I had done and seen: the lake, the bunk beds, the gigantic pool. After two weeks of hiking and swimming, it was wonderful to step off the bus and see my sister running towards me, arms out stretched. In her little seven-year-old hand she held her iPad open to the Minecraft screen. "I made it for you," she beamed. In the summer air the iPad was overheating and hot to the touch as I opened up the world titled "Olivia's Present." The iPad loaded to a scene with a lake, bunk beds, a gigantic pool, and everything else I had detailed in my letters. She had made it all. Showing me around the digital site she said, "Now we can both play at your camp together." It was clear that she missed me as much as I had her. We played the whole way home.
    Headbang For Science
    The best academic motivator is undeniably Heavy Metal. There is something about screaming beats that gets me passionate about the Gilded Age, chemical bonding, derivatives, or whatever else it plays behind. During high school, I was in the National, Science, Social Science, Pre Health, Theatre, and Music Honor Societies as well as the founder of the Random Acts of Kindness Club, founder of the choir "Big/Little" mentorship program, and an active member of our theatre program. This meant that most of my time was spent in early morning meetings or late night rehearsals. In a noisy school auditorium, Motörhead was perfect to tune things out. The other theatre kids did it too. They used every spare moment to finish papers and prep lab notebooks. Our company used to get in trouble whenever full attention wasn’t on the stage. That changed when I became a director. I encouraged opened computers, books, and a sea of papers. Being director also meant stepping back at vocal and dance rehearsals. On those days, I would sit with the cast, headphones on tight and homework in hand. It wasn’t the last month of rehearsals that I would have to switch to air pods: two buds to share between two people. I had felt a tap on my shoulder followed by my friend pointing to her chemistry study guide. Chemistry has always been my favorite, a well known fact by my friends, so I was excited to help. Dream Theater had helped me in learn titrations in AP Chemistry last year. We plugged my friend's ear buds into the computer to listen to some of the best guitar playing in music history. It jogged my memory immediately. The next day, I shoved down my headphones and turned up my music only to feel another tap on my shoulder. This time it was a freshman with geometry papers in hand. Being an algebra girl myself, geometric proofs are only tolerable with Exodus. It took a total of four songs to finish the front of her worksheet, another five on the back. I began to think of a new way to support my cast. Giving them a space to work is one thing, but what they really need was access to help. At the beginning of the next rehearsal, I made the announcement; my time off stage would be spent with whoever needed tutoring. There was only one condition: we must listen to Heavy Metal. This fall, my roommates at Trinity College Dublin will become well accustomed to my Metalhead academic lifestyle as I study for my bachelors in biological and biomedical sciences. My dream is to be a physician and one day adorn a white coat. I have a long educational road to get there with a minimum of 11 years of schooling left; good thing I like to learn and have plenty of bands to listen to. In addition, research is a very big passion of mine. During high school, I researched possible fluctuations of lactate levels due to menstrual phase affecting athletic performance. I plan to continue with research as an undergraduate at Trinity. I live with my mom, dad, little sister Gracie, and dog Dublin (as in the city I will be going to school in). My dad is 100% disabled from his time as an Army Ranger serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Due to his disability, my father cannot work and we are a single income household. While my mom has a great job, her salary is not enough on its own to keep up with the cost of living. As of this year, to fund my college education, she has taken on a second job. After a long day at her already demanding job, she has to do it all over again in hopes that one day a “Dr.” can be put in front of my name. Your support would give her time back to her to spend with my family. I cannot think of a better gift.
    A Man Helping Women Helping Women Scholarship
    In the fall, I will be attending Trinity College Dublin to receive a degree in biological and biomedical sciences. After my undergraduate experience, I plan to come back to the United States to attend medical school and residency to eventually become a physician. My dream is to be a physician and one day adorn a white coat. I have a long educational road to get there with a minimum of 11 years of schooling left; good thing I like to learn. In addition, research is a very big passion of mine. Starting my freshman year I will be involved in undergraduate research at Trinity. The health and biological sciences are my areas of interest so I plan to enroll in medical research. At the end of my time at Trinity, like every student in my major, I will be conducting my own research under the support of advisors. Currently, I am researching possible fluctuations of lactate levels due to menstrual phase affecting athletic performance. I started this analysis at the beginning of my school year in my Independent Science Research class. Before my study, I had the surface level knowledge that women have been underrepresented in past medical studies due to their hormone cycle being roughly a month compared to a man’s daily cycle, as well as the general stigma around feminine health. However, I did not realize the sheer magnitude of repercussions. The National Institute of Health has only mandated health studies to include both the male and female biology since 1993. This mandate says nothing about requiring women researchers to be included for a less biased result. Not only do I find this fact baffling, but at its core, the underrepresentation is dangerous. I believe a feminine eye is crucial to have in art, politics, leadership, the office, and yes, research. The medical field has made great strides in gender equality. I am proud to be joining a pool of future physicians that will have women as the majority. As for the research field, change is needed in both the subject pool, and in the demographics of researchers themselves to have true equality. I plan to partake in undergraduate research starting next year and am committed to balancing the biological scale. The importance of gender equality in medicine cannot be understated. Between undergraduate and medical school, I am dedicating a year to completely focus on participating in research as well as studying for the MCAT. This will also allow me to save money for the price tag of medical school by staying with my parents. When I get to medical school, I want to feel confident in my ability to support myself. My studies should be my top priority, not financials. Any support you can provide to support me on my long, but extremely worth it, journey to becoming a doctor, I would be eternally grateful for.
    Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship
    Why the Moon Sucks The moon was supposed to be made of cheese. At the very least, it was supposed to be the smile of a disappearing cat, but from where I grew up, there was nothing special about the moon. It wasn’t any brighter than the headlights of cars on my street. If I squinted through the blinds of my bedroom, I could mistake it for the balcony lights on the top floor apartments. It never had any stars surrounding it; they were too small to be seen through the glow of the nearby airport. Sure, there were the blinking lights of planes in the sky, but in the morning, their black jet fuel was left behind to stain my sidewalk. As a kid I wondered what it would be like to see the moon from a farm. Not some large commercial farm that stuffed a hundred cows into a crate, but a real one. A farm where you had to guess if sounds in the night were a deer, or a fox, or a bear. In my mind, the only other light from miles around were fireflies. Their dim flickers were nothing compared to runways and terminal lights. No, they had no chance of outshining a farm’s moon. I wondered if in the biggest cities there was even a moon at all. Would the skyscrapers take too much of the night's space for the moon to fit? New York lights in the "city that never sleeps" blind anyone to the sky's natural night light. At least there they had artificial stars of all colors shining from every street. My moon's only company was dead bug covered fluorescents. Or I wondered what the moon looked like where my dad was. I hoped that if he had to sleep outside with only the guide of an army flashlight it would at least be under a great, big moon. I hoped he saw his favorite color stars poking bright blue holes in the darkness. There weren't fireflies to catch like a farm moon, nor fake stars on streets. The less light, the bigger the sky. There weren't any deer or fox or bear. Quiet for him to sleep. No planes like my moon. No black stains. I used to dream the moon was as big as the sun to keep him warm on desert rock. If he couldn’t have a farm moon or even my crummy one, give him a good one.
    Rep the Pep Scholarship
    I have a talent for potion making. Not the low grade, tiny vile with a delicate glass cap potions, but the real deal; chemical-grade, pungent potions. I made potions that would dye a tub bright pink and leave a sparkle stained rim. The best potions were made of fruit perfumes, mom’s expensive facial cream, and foaming strawberry soap. My sister had painful skin. Her arms were covered in tiny bumps that would crack whenever she stretched. Her hands were rough, too sensitive to hold, but I was a talented potion maker. If I could turn myself into a mermaid, fixing some skin would be easy. I sat my sister down and made her watch as I filled the bath tub. I mixed bath bombs with purple shampoo and lavender oils. She had to soak for seven minutes; those were the rules I had made up. After seven minutes, I grabbed my cheetah print robe. The sleeves went past her hands and dragged on the ground as she walked to the mirror to see how my hard work turned out. Red as ever. Defeated and confused, I assured my sister that the effects were delayed. I promised. As I got older, I looked for other ways to fulfill that promise. I paid close attention in science class. They were fun to pay attention to anyway. I wanted to be the one to help my sister after her countless creams and ointments failed. I would keep going until her skin was silk. In the fall, I will be attending Trinity College Dublin to receive a degree in biological and biomedical sciences. After my undergraduate experience, I plan to come back to the United States to attend medical school and residency to eventually become a physician. My dream is to be a doctor and one day adorn a white coat. I have a long educational road to get there with a minimum of 11 years of schooling left; good thing I like to learn. Research is a very big passion of mine. Starting my freshman year I will be partaking in undergraduate medical research at Trinity. I am currently researching possible fluctuations of lactate levels due to menstrual phase affecting athletic performance. I started this analysis at the beginning of my school year in my Independent Science Research class because of my interest in health sciences. Before starting the work, I had the surface knowledge that women have been underrepresented in past medical studies due to their hormone cycle being roughly a month compared to a man’s daily cycle, as well as the general stigma around feminine health. However, I did not realize the sheer magnitude of repercussions. I am going to be a doctor. I have the grit, the drive, and the passion to get myself there—my inspiration, my mother. She has inspired me to strive for my dreams and is there right next to me to push the boulder up the hill. As of this year, to fund my undergraduate education, she has taken on a second job. After a long day at her already demanding job, she does it all over again in the hopes that one day a “Dr.” can be put in front of my name. Your support would give her time back to her to spend with my family. I cannot think of a greater gift.
    Johnny Douglas Conner Memorial Scholarship
    I’m not sure if I can call myself an army brat. My mother uses the term affectionately when I make my bed extra tight, or finish my morning route early. Other kids grow up with an army general, nomads moving from base to base. I was too young to remember when my dad finished his service. Apart from a move from Savannah to D.C., I've stayed stationary. My favorite day of the year was “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.” As a young child, the day was spent in the West Wing of the White House, cooped up in my father’s office. My dad held in no means a secret position, but on that day, I was always a Men-In-Black-like member of the Secret Service. I’m sure if you asked any of my elementary school classmates, they would be able to resight every detail of my White House restaurant order with how much I talked about the day. In later years, I would spend the day with my dad at the Peace Corp. I remember the mass amounts of free snacks I gorged myself on in his impressive office. When “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” rolled around in fifth grade, there was nowhere to go. I was ten when my father stopped working. At the time, I was too small to understand why. He looked the same as always to me. Looking back, it is easy to see the signs of his struggle: the anxiety, the panic attacks, the triggers, they had always been there. He had reached a point that they all bubbled over the confines of his work suits. The day he stopped leaving the house, my mom started working longer hours and we became a single income family. The word “trigger” became a hushed reminder from my mother to me. At first, it has a biting limitation. He couldn’t come to my elementary graduation or on bus ride field trips. I’ll admit there was a time where I resented him for this. Other parents could spend all day at an amusement park, or go to their daughter’s performance. It took a long time for me to realize that my father is not “other parents.” As I got older, I learned that while I can’t take away his pain, I can do my part in easing it. A new form of admiration, one of respect, formed from me to my father. Whether it be bringing him back food from the large gatherings he can’t attend, or warning him that my upcoming play is not sensory friendly, I can do my part. The small sacrifices I can make to atone for his large ones is the best way I can show love. So no, I am not an army brat. I am the child of an incredible man who protected me and his country.
    Book Lovers Scholarship
    Ramona Quimby: Age Eight is a literary classic. Akin to Gatsby, 1984, or any Shakespearean title, Ramona is the embodiment of an entire era of literature. When historians look back on 80’s, 90’s, and the 2000’s, they will use Ramona Quimby like we did the Iliad to Ancient Greece. Needless to say, everyone should read it. I was slow to reading. By the time other second graders started on their first chapter book, which was usually either Magic Treehouse or Harry Potter for the ambitious children, I was still on “The Cat in the Hat.” Picture books were always much larger in size than paper back copies of novels. Under my pink patch and thick glasses my eyes would squint and squirm to see even the biggest fonts in “The Little Engine That Could.” There was no chance my eyes wouldn’t fuzz over within the first few pages of Percy Jackson, so I just didn’t try. I wouldn’t attempt a chapter book until my mother brought home Ramona Quimby: Age Eight. It was a massive thing—larger than my Sophia the First backpack and heavy in my arms. The book was eight inches wide and twice as long. On the front cover was Ramona’s gloriously devious smile above the words “LARGE PRINT.” Inside was lovely large letters. I opened to the first page where I could clearly read “Chapter One: The First Day of School,” no squinting required. I didn’t put it down. On my legs were deep indents from where the heavy hard cover had sat upon my lap. My feet had fallen asleep from the pressure, but it didn’t matter. I had read a chapter book. A whole book. The actual contents of the book I cannot recall but what lingered with the feeling of reading. There was no pain in my eyes or my head. I had loved it. Ramona Quimby: Age Eight, LARGE PRINT was the first book that my eyes refused to blur out. I owe the book so much; it was the story that made me love reading.
    Big Picture Scholarship
    The Sound of Music was the original Oppenheimer. It may be an odd claim, but nevertheless, it's true. A movie musical starring Julie Andrews is not exactly synonymous with Christopher Nolan's atomic bomb biopic, but the two are linked. While the most obvious connection is the WWII subject matter, it's the time stamp that bonds them: three hours long. This 1965 film set the trend for movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, The Green Mile, and yes, Oppenheimer. Movies where you better have used the bathroom before the opening credits owe everything to The Sound of Music. That makes my track record of watching the Sound of Music eighteen times through a little extreme. Loving The Sound of Music wasn't a choice. It was a tradition. My grandpa had lived in Salzburg right before the movie's premiere. Back in America, the reminder of Austria's beauty made the film his new favorite. He watched it as much as he could and when he married my grandma, he spread that love to her. On their wedding day, their first dance was to "Edelweiss." Their kids were instilled with the same love for "My Favorite Things," "Sixteen Going on Seventeen," and "Do Re Mi." My dad continued what his parents had started when he married my mother. In her flowing white dress, my mom was as clean and bright as the "Edelweiss" she danced with my dad to. To whoever my future fiancee will be, it's "Edelweiss" or bust. My Sound of Music first dance is a must unless he wants a Bridezilla. Deeper than my gag of a dealbreaker, the song's lyrics reflect such beauty and grace--"Blossom of snow, may you bloom and grow, bloom and grow forever." On family gatherings, we always listen to my grandpa strum the toon on his ukulele, humming along. It's a Christmas tradition to watch the film. There is nothing in the the story that directly relates to the holiday season, but its message of kindness and family warms our hearts nonetheless. I have memories spanning across years of laying my head on my grandma's shoulder, listening to her perfectly off-key singing. My little sister never makes it to the end. Her head in my lap, she falls asleep before Maria can even go back to the abbey. The Sound of Music reminds me of the cookies my cousins would bake for movie snacks and the hot chocolate my mom mastered. It reminds me of my family. The Sound of Music has been passed down three generations. I fully intend to make it a fourth when I have a family of my own. While it may not be synonymous with Oppenheimer, it is most certainly synonymous with me.
    Janie Mae "Loving You to Wholeness" Scholarship
    Carrots was perfect. It just made sense. Her ginger fur and bunny appetite practically begged for that name but, at the bottom of her tag, in a big red heart was Minksy. I hated that name. Minksy sounded like a lifeless fur, dangling from fancy ladies’ shoulders in old, black-and-white movies. Or, at the very least, to an eight year old, Minksy was one of Cruella Devil’s gaudy prized coats. The name was too sophisticated for such a scrappy look: deep set eyes and tiny whisker stubs. She was too soft, too cuddly, and too warm. No, Carrots was better. It became routine for me to volunteer as line caboose in 2nd grade, a coveted, most important position because it was a few extra moments by Ms. Babcock’s desk to pet the plushiest spot behind her Beanie Baby ears. My future teachers had room decor, but none of them had anything like Carrots. In third grade, the room was covered with dark potion pictures split into red, green, yellow, and blue sections all under a giant sorting hat. Ms. Furtek was one to point out she was “born in the wrong dimension,” but I didn’t mind though. Most of my time was spent outside of the class anyway. It was spent in long car rides to New York City, or in holding rooms ripe with actors trying to get a break. Dancers would push themselves a little further into splits and singers would hum a little louder as I approached the audition room. Rides home always took much longer, particularly if therapeutic ice cream was required. Though some disappointments even Baskin Robbins couldn’t fix. They lasted through the weekend and, on Monday morning, damp tissues cluttered my desk. A girl can only blubber “it’s allergies” so many times before she shows that she does not in fact need Claritin. Cold water--the remedy for any bright red face. I grabbed the Elder Wand bathroom pass from Ms. Furtek’s door. I didn’t make it to the water fountain before I was spotted. Ms. Babcock was a dutiful bathroom monitor, a less than coveted position, but her teacher’s eye could spot a single tear. She rushed into a hug, saying nothing. Just hugged. Taking me back to her room, she placed Carrots in my arms. Soft and sweet, I pulled Carrots to my face, her fur drying my eyes. Ms. Babcock hushed “She is yours now. For times where all you need is a hug.” Carrots stayed on my bed for years, her color fading in the sunlight. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that she would return to school in the familiar scene of singers, dancers, and tights. Other volunteer counselors at my school’s theatre summer program brought stickers, mints, candy bribes. I brought Minksy. She lived in my backpack and was ready to spring to action, to save the day. For once, I watched the auditions of little girls in pigtails. “Tomorrow” and “Let It Go” never saw such justice as they did in that high school auditorium, but auditioning is scary. Sometimes, my girls would develop “allergies” worse than those fixed with cold water or ice cream. No, Minsky was better. Each introduction, she collected countless names--“Fluffy,” “Tom,” “Pumpkin,” “Spongebob.” And, from one of my more ironic campers--“Frog.” “Minksy,” if I can even still call her that, isn’t soft anymore. Her tinged fur is clumped and rough with dried tears. She’s losing her shape from all the little hands, fresh from wiping runny noses, holding her tightly to their face. But her purpose is still served.
    RonranGlee Literary Scholarship
    Reference Text - Lines 95-112 of Shakespeare's Hamlet: POLONIUS What is ’t, Ophelia, he hath said to you? OPHELIA So please you, something touching the Lord Hamlet. POLONIUS Marry, well bethought. ’Tis told me he hath very oft of late Given private time to you, and you yourself Have of your audience been most free and bounteous. If it be so (as so ’tis put on me, And that in way of caution), I must tell you You do not understand yourself so clearly As it behooves my daughter and your honor. What is between you? Give me up the truth. OPHELIA He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders Of his affection to me. POLONIUS Affection, puh! You speak like a green girl Unsifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them? Essay Response: Shakespearean Women: Dutiful Servants? (1.3.95-112) A relationship’s tenderness must often break and bow to the rules of a larger society. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, member of the court, Polonius, warns his daughter, Ophelia, to be wary of the affection she has been receiving from Prince Hamlet. The complex relationship of Ophelia and Polonius mirrors the unwavering dependency on paternal influences experienced by the women of Shakespeare’s time through demeaning diction and Ophelia’s restrained response. The excerpt begins by Polonius interrogating Ophelia about her possible relationship with Hamlet in order to establish the tipped power scale of Polonius over his daughter. With each response to her father’s demanding, degrading questions, Ophelia refers to him as “my lord” (1.3.99,104,110) before her answer. This formality towards her father’s title, even when they are alone together, is reflective of Hamlet’s society; women trail in men’s shadows. Polonius is not Ophelia’s father, rather, he is her “lord,” supreme first. Ophelia’s repetition of this phrase inadvertently draws attention to its absurdity; a lord should treat his subjects with respect, yet Polonius can bruise Ophelia repeatedly and still be given the same graceous title. As Polonius grows more humiliating with every question, referring to his daughter as a “green girl” (1.3.101) and a “baby” (1.3.105), Ophelia continues to show him the same, unfaltering respect a lord demands even though he is no longer worthy of that ethereal pedestal. This juxtaposition between a father’s insults and a daughter’s propriety exemplifies the lack of respect given to women of the time. By the moment Polonius offers advice to his daughter, the tone is more of a threat than guidance. Polonius warns against Hamlet and any feelings Ophelia might feel towards him to further assert his power. He sets out to “teach” (1.3.105) Ophelia the truth of Hamlet’s courting. The purposeful use of the word “teach” emphasizes his dominance. Throughout his monologue, Polonius utilizes numerous action verbs of what Ophelia must do: “think” (1.3.105) of her situation, “tell” (1.3.95) him the truth, then lastly, that she will “tender” him as a fool (1.3.109). The anaphora of a quick, sharp “t” with each demand makes use of the consonant’s biting placement in the mouth. Polonius is a dog baring his teeth as he barks orders to loyal Ophelia. It is Hamlet's actions that Polonius is afraid of, but when he speaks to his daughter, he makes it known that any misdeeds Hamlet will commit are the fault of Ophelia. He continues with how the tokens of affection given from Hamlet are being mistaken by Ophelia as “true pay / Which are not sterling:” (1.3.106-107). Polonius’ metaphor directly associates love and affection to monetary wealth. In the age of Hamlet, marriages were a transaction for wealth, status, land, connections. Daughters were the commodity, fathers: the cattle farmers. Through Polonius’ comparison, this marital practice is enforced in their relationship. Polonius is put in immense power over Ophelia’s wealth and love. Because Polonius does not believe Hamlet’s intentions to be true, Ophelia will not be allowed to either in fear of her father’s retaliation. Finally, Ophelia defends Hamlet for the last time. She further describes his affection as “love / In honourable fashion” (1.3.110-11). Shakespeare’s choice of “fashion” creates miscommunication between father and daughter. While Ophelia is referring to “honourable fashion” as how Hamlet treats her, Polonius takes the more literal approach. He interprets “fashion” as stylish clothes and gifts. After he misinterprets his daughter, he also bashes her style by stating how he would not call Hamlet’s affections “fashion.” Ophelia is misunderstood, then insulted. Ophelia and Polonius follow the same tragic fate, filled with societal pressures, as many unheard daughters and belligerent fathers of Shakespeare’s era. Rather than show tenderness, a father prefers to tender themself a fool.