Does Hamlet truly love Ophelia?

Expert Answers info

Piper Lynch eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write8 answers

starTop subject is Literature

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...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 901 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Holly McGlynn eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write867 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History











check Approved by eNotes Editorial

amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2005

write3,513 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write2,050 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,060 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


trapazoidal123 | Student

I believe that Hamlet truly did love Ophelia. Throughout the play he shows concern for her well being and state of mind. In the final act of Hamlet when Hamlet finds out that Ophelia is being buried he professes that he loved Ophelia more than 40,000 brothers thus showing his affection for her. 

circlecarft | Student

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
angelamarie88 | Student

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
angelamarie88 | Student

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!

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
angelamarie88 | Student

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:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
angelamarie88 | Student

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
sura2088 | Student

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 ..

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
dkazoom | Student

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??

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
lksettle | Student

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.

 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial
alaska | Student

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." 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial