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How does Hamlet prove that he does love Ophelia?I believe that Hamlet does love Ophelia...

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naru49mano | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM via web

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How does Hamlet prove that he does love Ophelia?

I believe that Hamlet does love Ophelia but have trouble proving it with his confession in Act 5. Even though he says that he loves her more that Laeters does, he confesses to Horatio it was done on a bit of an impulse towards Laertes' show of love. Can anyone help me prove otherwise, that Hamlet truly did love Ophelia?

I have a lot of other contraditing opinions that i need help to be resolved:

  1. How is it that neither when he kills Polonius, nor afterwards, does he appear to reflect that he has killed Ophelia's father or what the effect on Ophelia is likely to be?
  2. In what ways are Hamlet's insults to Ophelia at the play-scene necessary either to his purpose of convincing her of his insanity or to his purpose of revenge? And, even if he did regard them as somehow means to these ends, it is conceivable that he would have uttered them, if his feeling fo rher were one of hopeless but unmingled love?

4 Answers | Add Yours

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 21, 2011 at 9:25 AM (Answer #2)

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In response to your mixed feelings, remember that Hamlet was going through a turbulent time. I'm not sure he knew himself what he was doing. As far as the play scene, it could be either an attempt to throw everyone off track or playground behavior. This is Shakespeare, after all. Bawdy jokes were his speciality.
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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted July 22, 2011 at 1:55 AM (Answer #3)

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I believe Hamlet proves his love for Ophelia at her funeral. In Act 5, Scene 1, Hamlet tells her brother that he loves her more than forty thousand brothers' love for a sister:

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.

Although it is too late, Hamlet does cry out that he loves Ophelia. He had so much stress in his life, desiring to avenge his father's death, until he did not prove his love to Ophelia when she was alive.

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 22, 2011 at 5:10 AM (Answer #4)

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Hamlet obviously loved Ophelia, and there are two times when he proves it. Ophelia has keepsakes and letters from Hamlet, which may or may not be an indication of true love; he may, of course, have simply been leading her on for his own purposes. However, as his plan unfolds and Hamlet begins to see that there will be trouble, he tries to save her by sending her away (to a nunnery). Ophelia certainly does not see this as a loving act, but I think it can be seen as an act of love--which eventually backfires, of course, since she feels as if she has lost everything. The second time is at Ophelia's gravesite. He is genuinely grief-stricken when he realizes it is her, and he is almost out of his mind with grief when he confronts Laertes. There is certainly room for debate on this, but it seems clear to me that Hamlet did, indeed, love Ophelia.

Lori Steinbach

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

Posted July 29, 2011 at 2:25 AM (Answer #5)

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Hamlet states his love for Ophelia, something he did not have say. He compares his love to forty thousands brothers' love for a sister. Still, Hamlet claims that he loved Ophelia more than forty thousand brothers could love a sister:

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers(270)
Could not, with all their quantity of love,
Make up my sum.

Clearly, Hamlet's confession of so great a love is enough to convince even Laertes.

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