Analysis Of Whether Hamlet Truly Loved Ophelia
The play, The Tragedy of Hamlet The Prince of Denmark, follows the story of Hamlet after his father’s murder. Hamlet learns that Claudius, his stepfather and uncle, poisoned his brother and his father wants his death to be avenged. Claudius spies on Hamlet after discovering Hamlet has learned the truth of his father’s death by using Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius, and Polonius’s daughter Ophelia to reveal his true feelings. After Hamlet discovers this, he decides to act mad to undermine Claudius. He even acts insane around his lover Ophelia, who is described as being “…a cult figure embodying their own turbulent hopes,” (Romanska 485). This begs the question of whether Hamlet truly loved Ophelia because if he truly loved her, he would still act like a gentleman rather than a madman. By the way he acted around Ophelia when he was alone with her, he showed that his feelings for her were true. Hamlet’s actions throughout the play show that he was really in love with Ophelia. The audience can see that Hamlet really did love Ophelia when he told her, “I did love you” (Shakespeare III 125).
In this scene, Hamlet confesses that he loved her, but then goes on to say that he never loved her. This could be due to the fact that Hamlet knew his conversation with Ophelia was being watched which explains the confusion on whether he loved her or not. Additionally, in the love letter he wrote for her, Hamlet wrote “never doubt I love” (Shakespeare II 127). He tells her that among everything else around her that may not be true, his love for her is real. This is the one time before Ophelia’s death that Hamlet reveals his true feelings. This could be due to the fact that, once Ophelia received the letter, she gave it to her father. Hamlet did not trust Polonius, and from that moment on, Hamlet knew he had to hide his love for Ophelia and act mad to protect her. Throughout the entire play, Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is questioned like when Laertes said “Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting.” (Shakespeare I 7-8).
What Hamlet is really doing is trying to throw off the other characters and make it seem like he did 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. Although many could argue that Hamlet never loved Ophelia, he was just trying to throw the spies in a different direction but indeed did love her.
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