There is the love between husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend and even
between sister and brother. Some feel real love for the other and others are just
based on deceit and illusion. The relationships that develop the most throughout the
play are Claudius and Gertrude’s, Hamlet and his father’s and Hamlet and
Queen Gertrude and King Claudius have a relationship where there is
love for the other person but also a greater love for something else. Claudius loves
Gertrude but he cares more for himself and his kingdom. In the beginning, Claudius
kills his own brother, Prince Hamlet’s father, so that he could
take possession of the throne. Instead of Gertrude mourning the death of her
husband, two months later she marries Claudius. That shows that Gertrude
wasn’t really in love with Claudius and was in love with his power and her position
as Queen. If she hadn’t married him, she wouldn’t be able to remain Queen of
Denmark. When Claudius confesses that he killed King Hamlet in Act 3 scene
3, he says “my crown, mine own ambition and my queen. May one be pardoned and
retain th’ offense?” (3, ii, 59-60). The way he really feels about Gertrude is revealed
in this one line. When he lists the things that might be taken away from him if he
confesses to the murder, he mentions his crown and his ambition before Gertrude.
This means he would do anything to keep his crown even if this means sacrificing
Gertrude; and this is exactly what he did. In the final scene of the play, Gertrude
picked up the poison cup to make a toast to Hamlet. When she was about to take a
sip, Claudius yelled “Gertrude, do not drink” (5, ii, 317). Instead of taking the cup
from her, he watched her gulp down the poison drink and die. He knew that if he
had taking the cup away from her, everyone would know that something is wrong.
He decided that his position as king was more important than saving his own wife.
Claudius loved his power, he loved his kingdom, but he never loved his wife.
Gertrude is also at fault because her marriage to Claudius was based on illusion and
greed. She wanted to believe there was all good in him but soon found out that he
was nothing but a deceitful person. This marriage was very unhealthy because there
was no trust or communication. Claudius always left Gertrude in the dark about his
plans and as a result, she was killed.
Even though Gertrude didn’t show much love for King Hamlet, Prince
Hamlet loved his father and was determined to revenge his father’s death. Hamlet
showed a great love for his father and it seemed as if they had a great relationship
when King Hamlet was alive. Hamlet proved that he had real love towards his
father throughout the play. She even turns on his mother for marrying Claudius
two months after his father died and for not mourning his death longer. He was also
willing to murder Claudius and make him go to hell. Hamlet says “and so he goes to
heaven. And so am I revenged. That would be scanned: a villain kills my father, and
for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven. Why, this is hire and
salary, not revenge (3, iii, 79-84). Hamlet thought of these things because he loved
his father so much that he wanted Claudius to pay for what he did. Hamlets
reaction to the news of his father’s murder is the same reaction any of us would feel
if we just found out that your father was murdered by your own uncle. You would
want that person to pay for what they have done and make them suffer forever.
Hamlets love for his father was real and sincere.
Hamlet also had another love, and it was for the fair Ophelia. Hamlet and
Ophelia had a very unhealthy relationship. There was no trust and constant
bickering. Hamlet and Ophelia did love each other but they let people stand between
them. Polonius used Ophelia as bait to get to Hamlet and controlled everything that
Ophelia did. I believe that Polonius in a way brain washed Ophelia into not liking
Hamlet anymore and this is what leads to all their problems. Also, when Hamlet
accidentally murders Polonius, Ophelia begins to go mad. She starts to go crazy
because she knew that Hamlet killed her father and she thought that he was a
trustworthy person. When Ophelia pretends to give flowers to Laertes and the king,
she says that “I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father
died” (4, IV, 207-209). Violets represent faithfulness and when he says that the
violets died when her father died, she is saying that all the faith that she had in life
and in her love life faded away. She had so much faith in her love for Hamlet and
thought that they would be fine. When you love someone so much, you want to
believe that that person is good and fair and that they would never do anything to
hurt you. When Ophelia, Hamlet shows up to her burial and holds her in his arms
and tells her that he has always loved her. Hamlets love for Ophelia was real but it
was hard for him to trust her.
Throughout Hamlet, there are many ways love is portrayed. Some are pure
and others are for self gain and greed. Hamlet portrayed different types
of relationships there are and leaves you to decide what true love is and if there is
more than one to express that. All these characters did love one another at some
point but some of there relationships grew stronger and some ended in tragedy.