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Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

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brence | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 17, 2008 at 9:21 PM via web

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Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted March 18, 2008 at 3:34 AM (Answer #2)

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In Act 2, sc. 1, Ophelia tells her father, Polonius, that she fears Hamlet is "mad" for her love.  She describes a distressed Hamlet came into her room, grabbed her by the wrist, backed away and just looked into her face, studying it.  Then he slowly backed out of the room without looking at the door.  In Act 2, sc. 2, Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude that Hamlet is love-sick for Ophelia and cites a letter Hamlet wrote in which he calls Ophelia, "...the heavenly idol of my soul..." and further says, in a poem, that he loves her.  In Act 3, sc. 1, Ophelia returns to Hamlet some letters he wrote to her in which he professed his love for Ophelia.  Finally, in Act 5, sc. 1, Hamlet jumps into Ophelia's open grave and professes to Laertes and the others that he loved Ophelia more than 40,000 brothers.  So, yes, I do believe Hamlet loved Ophelia.

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted March 18, 2008 at 3:50 PM (Answer #3)

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In my estimation, Hamlet could not possibly have truly loved Opehlia a treat her as he does.   His vitrolic speech is certainly more than necessary when he demands, "Get thee to a nunnery!" and then accuses her, and all women, of the crimes his mother is guilty of.

After this vicious attack, he has the nerve to lay upon her lap and while pretending love, continue to insult and berate her.

I am in the process of teaching this play for eNotes.  You can find free, detailed lessons, as well as questions and answers, at the link below. 

http://blogs.enotes.com/literature-101/category/hamlet/

 

 

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 19, 2008 at 6:41 AM (Answer #4)

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Maybe he does...even though he treats her horridly, he may be reacting to his hatred of the weakness of all women in the face of what he sees his mother doing.  Frailty! Thy name is woman! he says...she is so weak that she must immediately attach herself to the first available man after his father's death. 

Remember, too, that the boys who throw mud on you and who put your hair in the ink pot are the ones who have a crush on you and just don't know any better way to show you attention...

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anber | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM (Answer #5)

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Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia? Support this with quotation(s) from the play.

I believe that Hamlet loved Ophelia; however, after his mother's unfaithfulness, he finds himself questioning a woman's morality and virtue.

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alaska | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 7, 2008 at 10:57 AM (Answer #6)

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I believe Hamlet did initially love Ophelia, as he tells her - "I did love thee once." As he is ranting (down to his 'madness'), like answer #3 says he uses harsh words against Ophelia- "Get thee to a nunnery", "breeder of sinners" however I feel he is testing Ophelia's commitment to him in this scene - for when she answers Hamlet with along the lines of "you let me believe (you loved me)", it was as though she doubted Hamlet's love - and thus, he tells her in frustration - "I never loved thee." 

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ilovehamlet | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2008 at 11:02 AM (Answer #7)

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Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia? Support this with quotation(s) from the play.

i believed that he once loved her..but now there is just to much in his life for him to think about love..he has revenge on his mind not love.

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lksettle | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 5, 2009 at 7:05 PM (Answer #8)

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No, Hamlet does not love Ophelia. He cheapens her by continuously telling her to take herself to a whorehouse, plus he never apologizes. When he stabs her father in Act 3, scene 4, he not once shows remorse for killing someone Ophelia loves. He never apologizes for killing her father, nor gives even a hint that he feels bad for killing someone close to Ophelia. Finally, Hamlet concentrates more on his mother's sexuality than he does Ophelia's. Though it is never said, we are subject to believe that Ophelia takes part in the "Maiden's complaint." Through her songs we assume that her and Hamlet had previously been lovers, but because he "tainted" her, he no longer loves her.

 

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dkazoom | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:47 PM (Answer #9)

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Yes Hamlet did truly love her. When he rejected her by calling her a whore and such, he was descending into madness and he couldn't think straight. He may have also thought that looking after her by marrying her or even being in a relationship with her was to much effort as he was so dedicated at trying get revenge for his fathers murder.

But it hit him hard when he saw the woman he loved in her grave and dead that he threw himself at her and told Laertes that he loved her "more than 40 000 brothers ever could have loved". So why would he say that if he did not love her??

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sura2088 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:22 AM (Answer #10)

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may be he loved her in his own way .... he was having a bad situation and that we couldn see the romantic side of him ..

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angelamarie88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:04 PM (Answer #11)

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Yes, Hamlet did love Ophelia at some point before the play began, and we know this because:

1) Ophelia tells her father that Hamlet has "importuned me with love in an honorable fashion" (Act I, Scene 3, line 109), when her father tries to persuade her out of falling in love with Hamlet. The only people who are dark and spiteful at this point are those who are working to dissuade Ophelia from loving Hamlet. Hamlet is sweet and blameless at this point, and so is Ophelia. But the love overtures have stopped as the play opens, because that's when Hamlet's life starts to become more complicated.

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angelamarie88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:05 PM (Answer #12)

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2) As the play goes on, Ophelia discusses with Hamlet some love letters he had written to her (which he denies (Act 3 Scene 1, lines 93-102) because he is currently disgusted with all women in general as I'll give you the reason for in a moment)  but life circumstances and complications have long since begun to dissipate Hamlet's love for her, turning his love for her to bitterness. His love for her has turned to bitterness because:

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angelamarie88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:06 PM (Answer #13)

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1) Ophelia's brother & father instructed her to reject any romantic overtures from Hamlet, and she obediently agrees to do so. That is, she would be rejecting any romantic gestures from him if he had been giving them lately, but he hadn't.

2) On top of the fact that Ophelia has had a cold shoulder for Hamlet (Act 2 Scene 2, Lines 105-108), within the last two months Hamlet's life has become agonizingly stressful. His father dies. His mother marries his father's brother (!) within two months of her husband dying(!!) and THEN Hamlet learns that his uncle is the one who killed his father(!!!) To top it all off, Hamlet meets the ghost of his deceased father who is the one that informs Hamlet of the murderer's identity...then the ghost instructs young Hamlet to avenge his death. Talk about stress!

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angelamarie88 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 9, 2011 at 7:07 PM (Answer #14)

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3) Zeroing in on one aspect of that stress, as it pertains to Hamlet's feelings toward all women (Ophelia included): Hamlet is thoroughly disgusted with his mother for shedding no tears after her husband's death, then turning around and marrying the her husband's brother, who, let me repeat, was the one who murdered his brother! Young Hamlet's disgust for his mother ("O most pernicious woman!" Act 1 Scene 5, line 105) becomes a disgust for all women in general. And Ophelia is no exception to his umbrella of disgust.

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circlecarft | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:27 PM (Answer #16)

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A possible answer may be that Hamlet did secretly love Ophelia the whole way through, but hides this love (by insulting her etc) because he suspected spying and eventually found out that polonius and claudius were trying to spy on him. So he deliberately insulted Ophelia to give the king the thought that Ophelia was indeed not the cause of Hamlet's so called madness. When she dies in the end, he regrets everything he did to her and sayd to Laertes that he loved her more than her brother did.

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