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Why did the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia break down?

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arjun50 | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 2, 2007 at 7:59 PM via web

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Why did the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia break down?

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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted September 2, 2007 at 8:54 PM (Answer #1)

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In this drama, it is crystal that Hamlet loves Ophelia where as she avoids declaring her love for him. May be she is hauled up in different serious problems. Hamlet’s love is based on truth and frankness. Before the death of his father he was caught in her love .in his love letters he uses the term of affection. Ophelia discloses it to Laerates and Polinus and his vows for her.
If we read her words, it seems that she has given her heart to Hamlet, for she had sucked the honey of his musicked vows. Dejections created a huge reason not to declare her love. Her words for hamlet, when he feigns to be mad. Hamlet and Ophelia love is changed by the cruel role of circumstance. As Hamlet’s father dies and his mother marries his uncle. When the ghost reveals and discloses the truth with condemning Gertrude as incestuous and adulterate beast. Hamlet feels hatred at this nature and transfers his feelings from his mother to all women and hates all women kind.
Ophelia betrays Hamlet because Laerates and Polonius were worldly wise and poisoned her mind. Whenever Hamlet comes nearer to her, she remains silent and then discloses all to her father whatever happened. Simultaneously Hamlet’s behaviour is very strange. He is depressed and abhorred his life. The world to him was weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. The both are possessing weaknesses. By virtue of them, they could not join each other in love as happened in Romeo and Juilet. Their love casts strange effect on the audience.



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rtandon | Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted September 3, 2007 at 1:14 AM (Answer #2)

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In the beginning of Act 1, Scene 3, one finds Laertes advising his sister Ophelia to stay away from Hamlet. The reason being given was class status: Ophelia did not belong to a royal family and during the Elizabethan period, marriages amongst royals were not based on love but for political gains. Increasingly as the play progresses, one finds Ophelia being torn between her loyalty to her father and to Hamlet. And in the end one finds her loyalties clearly tilted towards her father Polonius. She becomes a victim of her father's political ambitions as well as a victim of Hamlet's feigned madness, bitterness and suspicion of women. Hamlet loses all faith in women after having discovered his mother's adultery. He vents all his anger on Ophelia and uses harsh, bitter language such as asking her to go join a nunnery to protect her virginity. Hamlet feels totally betrayed by Ophelia when he finds that Polonius and Claudius uses her to spy on him. Thus one can conclude that Hamlet and Ophelia are clearly the victim of their circumstances.

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blacksheepunite | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted September 3, 2007 at 2:41 AM (Answer #4)

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Rhtandon's argument is excellent, and well put. Both Hamlet and Opehlia are like leafs in a tornado to a great extent. One could argue that Ophelia would have been so regardless--she was already in over her head when she fell for Hamlet because of their class difference. Perhaps their love never had a chance.

Both appear overwhelmed by their circumstance. Hamlet doesn't know who to trust and Ophelia's naivete is almost unbearable; (surely she knew when she started the relationship that her father and brother would not approve). 

Yet at the time when talk is most important, neither of them speak honestly or directly. Ophelia allows herself to be used as a pawn; Hamlet talks in code: "are you honest?", "shall I lie my head upon your lap", and "get thee to a nunnery"--all double edged comments dripping with sexual undertones. Such comments honestly reveal his anger and confusion but are too witty to shed light. Ophelia doesn't understand.

The sexual innuendos here (a nunnery is code for a brothel) do suggest his mother's behaviour has coloured his view of women, and that he is angry at what seems a betrayal by both women. Yet his sexual insults reveal a deep misunderstanding of Ophelia: she loves him.

Both lovers lack trust. Neither really see the other, and both are too fixated on their own situation to reach out and support the other. They can't even talk. Their love is green, too new for talk and trust.

Sources:

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dhiya | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2010 at 5:16 PM (Answer #5)

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Because at the begining of the play Hamlet started to hate the women community by the behaviour of his mother against his father.So Hamlet thought that Ophelia also would be like her mother. Because Ophelia's father Polonius and brother Laeters are very closed with the new king Claudius. So Hamlet suspected that it may be some secret plans against him through the love of Ophelia. So Hamlet started to examine Ophelia if she is trust or untrust person. And so Hamlet acts as a mad or in a wild way to both Ophelia and Polonius.

But another side Polonius soonly suspected that Hamlet was in love with Ophelia. So Polonius tried to change her daughter's mind, as not to love Hamlet. And as always obediently Ophelia changed her mind not to love Hamlet. In this way their love had broken.

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davidmore | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 4, 2011 at 11:43 PM (Answer #6)

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In this drama, it is crystal that Hamlet loves Ophelia where as she avoids declaring her love for him. May be she is hauled up in different serious problems. Hamlet’s love is based on truth and frankness. Before the death of his father he was caught in her love .in his love letters he uses the term of affection. Ophelia discloses it to Laerates and Polinus and his vows for her.
If we read her words, it seems that she has given her heart to Hamlet, for she had sucked the honey of his sick vows. Dejections created a huge reason not to declare her love. Her words for hamlet, when he feigns to be mad. Hamlet and Ophelia love is changed by the cruel role of circumstance. As Hamlet’s father dies and his mother marries his uncle. When the ghost reveals and discloses the truth with condemning Gertrude as incestuous and adulterate beast. Hamlet feels hatred at this nature and transfers his feelings from his mother to all women and hates all women kind.
Ophelia betrays Hamlet because Laerates and Polonius were worldly wise and poisoned her mind. Whenever Hamlet comes nearer to her, she remains silent and then discloses all to her father whatever happened. Simultaneously Hamlet’s behaviour is very strange. He is depressed and abhorred his life. The world to him was weary, stale, flat and unprofitable. The both are possessing weaknesses. By virtue of them, they could not join each other in love as happened in Romeo and Juilet. Their love casts strange effect on the audience.

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scarlet799 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM (Answer #7)

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Because Hamlet killed her father,Polonius accidentally...Ophelia loved and obeyed her father,therefore as Hamlet killed him mistakenly,Ophelia committed suicide and therefore they two broke-up... :(

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