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Love in Hamlet

By jchicofamily Oct 23, 2008 1000 Words
In Hamlet, the characters demonstrate different ways to love somebody.

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

Ophelia’s.

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.

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