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Hamlet is a complex character. The evidence that he loved Ophelia has been identified above. The evidence that he didn't love her is also identified.

What do we make of the contradictions?

He has courted her, declared love, given her gifts, even Gertrude said she had hoped Ophelia would be Hamlet's wife. One thing that's clear about Hamlet is that he is sincere. His pretence of madness is a bizarre game; flippant yet deadly serious. Beneath it all he despises pretence, as evidenced by his mother's behaviour. So let's say he did love Ophelia sincerely.

The events of the beginning of the play have thrown him. He is depressed, mistrustful, in a state of shock, overwhelmed, in no state to gently court his sweet girlfriend.

The play is contradictory about Hamlet's age, but he behaves like an adolescent. He is shocked by his father's death and mother's remarriage - psychologically spot-on; the stuff that sends teenagers to councillors in profound distress. He doesn't trust his friends, but depends...

(The entire section contains 6 answers and 1318 words.)

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