The Relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia
Table of Contents
2.1 “I did love you once”
2.2 “I loved you not”
2.3 “This is I, Hamlet the Dane”
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is by all means a troubled young man. He seeks revenge for the murder of his father and has to deal with the incestuous relationship between his mother and uncle. In order to hide his motives, he pretends to be mad. Is it under such circumstances possible for him to return Ophelia’s feelings for him? And in what way does Hamlet’s struggle with himself affect Ophelia? This paper deals with the relationship between the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia. More specifically, it tries to find an answer to the question whether or not Hamlet loves Ophelia and how this is connected with his actions throughout the play that ultimately lead to her death.
2.1 “I did love you once” – How Hamlet shows affection That Ophelia is in love with Hamlet is rather clear and undoubted throughout the play. And there are many reasons to believe that Hamlet feels similar about her. In Ophelia’s first dialogue with Polonius, she tells him how Hamlet has made “tenders/ Of his affection” to her. This must have taken place sometime before the play starts, before Hamlet learns of the murder of his father and decides to feign madness and is therefore likely to be a true act of affection. Even stronger and clearer his Hamlet’s declaration of his love for Ophelia in Act 5, Scene 1, at Ophelia’s burial. He verbally attacks (and physically struggles) with Laertes, actually claiming that he loved Ophelia and that “forty thousand brothers/ Could not with all their quantity of love/ Make up [his] sum.”This is a true outbreak of passion by the phlegmatic Hamlet, to attack a man he respects (“That is Laertes, a very noble youth.”) and whose father died at his hands.
2.2 “I loved you not” –...
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