Although some scholars argue that Hamlet has a concise story, it is filled with many uncertainties relating to Hamlet. One of which is Hamlet love for Ophelia, despite some argue otherwise, the evidence provides that the Prince truly did love Ophelia. The word “love” is a powerful one, both in real life, and in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. It is often a confusing concept, made even harder to grasp when one of the lovers repeatedly changes his/her mind (Hanson, 16).
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In Hamlet’s case, his feelings towards Ophelia veer from love, to never loved, to always love. This cycle of emotions is due to Hamlet feigning madness. Hamlet is trying to throw off people with his madness so he can be with Ophelia. In this time period in which Hamlet claimed to Ophelia that he never loved her, was that in which his rage at his uncle was constantly increasing. Although Hamlet denies his love for Ophelia, it is possible to realize that he never stopped loving her. Sandoval 2
Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is first introduced to the reader by Ophelia herself, “He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders of his affection to me. ”(1. 3. 45). Hamlet has corresponded with Ophelia and demonstrated the love he feels for her. Even at this point in the play, Hamlet, without even having been seen around Ophelia, seems to be a bit distant. This distance could be due to Hamlet’s forces between him and Ophelia is in part due to the fact that her brother and father are so overly protective of her. Ophelia claims that Hamlet has confirmed his love for her “with almost all the holy vows of heaven” (1. 3. 123).
Ophelia’s words that he does love her in this first act are extremely important when looking at the play as a whole because they allow the reader to understand Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia (Romanska, 145). Ophelia’s statement shows that Hamlet has talked to her about love and they both feel they love each other. The plot thickens and Hamlet’s mind begins to ponder the possibilities of a confession by the king. His love for Ophelia is also strongly noticed by all. The nobles of Elsinor also take notice that the love he shows and they start to realize the possibility that Hamlet love for Ophelia would benefit them all.
When Polonius reads from one of Hamlet s love letters to Ophelia, in which he says to her “But that I love thee best, O most best, believe it” (2. 2. 91). The numbers that would encapsulate by the physics and psychology of Hamlet’ love for Ophelia (McCormick, 74). Queen Gertrude wishes to use Ophelia’s love to bring her only son out of madness. Claudius wishes to do the same. Sandoval 3 His reason, however, is to end the threat of his own life. Once the king and queen realize this remedy they quickly act to use it by persuading Ophelia to talk to Hamlet.
In this Scene, true madness comes into play. Once Ophelia meets Hamlet and speaks with him Hamlet realizes that his mother and stepfather are aware of this love and might use this to end his threat. Hamlet must end their thoughts of using Ophelia to rid him of his condition. To do this he must destroy all the current feelings Ophelia has for him and he does so very well, perhaps too well. As the story grows deeper, Hamlet shows us that he really did love Ophelia when Hamlet tells Ophelia that “I did love you once” (3. 1. 131).
Hamlet only confesses that he did indeed loved Ophelia, but only when it goes on to says that Hamlet never loved her (Habib, 23). On the contrary Hamlet knows the whereabouts with Ophelia is being watched. After Ophelia and Hamlet get finished talking Hamlet ask to Ophelia “Where’s your father? ”(3. 1. 141). Ophelia answers and tells Hamlet that Polonius is at home, suddenly Hamlet answers “Let the doors be shut upon him that he may play the fool nowhere but in‘s own house” (3. 1. 143-44). Hamlet implies that he knows Polonius has I eye on them and something is going to throw down.
It is upon Act 5 where the affections for Hamlet and Ophelia are decided. The full faith where there are no hesitation of Hamlet’s intense love for Ophelia (Holland, 11). It is Ophelia’s funeral, and Hamlet confronts Laertes upon a test of their love for her. It was Sandoval 4 to this challenge that Hamlet declares, “I loved Ophelia; Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantities of love make up my sum” (5. 1. 261-264). It was especially difficult for Hamlet to talk to Ophelia. The only other woman in his life, Gertrude, has betrayed his father by marrying Claudius.
This in fact, betrays Hamlet as well. Hamlet may be obsessed with the idea that all women are evil. Although there have been scenes in which there is the possibility of skepticism, my impression is that Hamlet did in fact, love Ophelia. His claims of affection and his bitter reaction to her denial prove his feelings of love. Although Shakespeare may not have made it excessively clear, the popular belief supports Hamlet’s love for Ophelia. So indeed, Hamlet did love Ophelia, and the evidence is also in the play that she did love the prince.
When Laertes tells Ophelia to beware of Hamlet’s love, she does not deny her love for Hamlet but responds that yes she will be careful. As for the song, no part of any of Shakespeare’s plays is ever thrown in simply because it was popular at the time. When Ophelia sings that sing in her mentally disturbed state she is revealing the nature of her relationship to Hamlet and his promises of love (“To Man From Mankind’s Heart. ” Time 76. 1). In the end, Ophelia had no plan, plot or motive that drove her crazy, the loss of her lover and her father was too much for her to bear to her poor little heart.
Throughout the entire play, Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is questioned. What Hamlet is really doing is trying to throw off the other characters and make it seem like he does Sandoval 5 not love Ophelia, even though he really does. Hamlet did not want Ophelia to become involved in case Claudius decided to get revenge on Hamlet. Hamlet shows his love for Ophelia when he confesses to her that he loves her, when he tells her to go to a nunnery to protect her, when he sends her the letter, and when he finds out that she has died.
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Although many could argue that Hamlet never loved Ophelia, he was just trying to throw everyone else off. There is a great deal of evidence proving that his love was true. Sandoval 6 Work Cited. MLA. 1. HANSON, ELIZABETH. “Fellow Students: Hamlet, Horatio, And The Early Modern University. ” Shakespeare Quarterly 62. 2 (2011): 205-229. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. 2. Romanska, Magda. “Ontology And Eroticism: Two Bodies Of Ophelia. ” Women’s Studies 34. 6 (2005): 485-513. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. 3. McCormick, Frank J. Eliot’s THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK And Shakespeare’s HAMLET. ” Explicator 63. 1 (2004): 43-47. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Mar. 2012 4. Habib, Imtiaz. “`Never Doubt I Love’: Misreading Hamlet. ” College Literature 21. 2 (1994): 19. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Mar. 2012. 5. Holland, Peter. “Shakespeare Performances In England, 1992-1993. ” Shakespeare Survey 47. (1994): 181. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Apr. 2012. 6. “To Man From Mankind’s Heart. ” Time 76. 1 (1960): 62. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Mar. 2012.