Hamlet and Ophelia have a relationship that is quite significant to Hamlet as a whole. Their relationship in the past has been filled with many sexual endeavors but once the play starts, it begins its downfall, affecting multiple characters down the line. Throughout the play, the relationship indirectly causes obsession, death, insanity, and the drive for vengeance.
Ophelia's love for Hamlet is mentioned very early in the play when she is with her brother, Laertes, and her father, Polonius. The brother warns her to be careful since Hamlet's motive to be with her are not out of love, but is "a violet in the youth of primy nature, forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, the perfume and suppliance of a minute," meaning that the relationship is merely a stage of youthful lust and will not last forever (1.2 8-10). Unlike Laertes, Polonius demands that she must stop dating Hamlet at once. He cares about his own reputation more than the emotions of his daughter, and he also wants to have the most power over her. If she and Hamlet were to wed, he would lose the power he has over her, which is unacceptable in his eyes. After Ophelia obeys her father, Hamlet appears at her room in a complete mess. The state that he is in frightens her, and mentions what happens to her father. Polonius assumes that Ophelia's rejection has driven Hamlet insane. This is the beginning of Polonius obsession to discover if Hamlet is really insane due to his daughters rejection, or if it due to a different cause.
The obsession that Polonius continues to have for the discover of the source of Hamlet's insanity drives him to his death, which further induces Ophelia's drowning. Being extremely nosy, he once again hides to eavesdrop on Hamlet's conversation, this time with Hamlet's mother in the queen's chamber. After Gertrude feels threatened by Hamlet's aggression and screams, Polonius makes a sound behind the curtain, in turn shocking Hamlet. Then Hamlet yells, "How now, a rat? Dead for...
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