If Hamlet confessed that he does not love Ophelia once, then why does he talk to her during the play and seem like he is flirting with her?

Expert Answers
gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Remember that Hamlet is putting on a false front for the court after he takes up the burden of seeking his father's killer. Anything he says to another person—or when someone else might be watching—should be read as part of that false front. In this case, Hamlet tells Ophelia the following:  "You should not have believ'd me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you


He's saying he didn't love her…but this is to confuse the situation, to distance her, and to hurt her like he's been hurt, by spreading the betrayal. (She is sent to spy on him, after all.)

kneegrow | Student

Well i dont really agree with gbeatty i dont belive that Hamlet is acting crazy. That might have been his intention at first but the madness took over him. Just imagine if you were him and you were depressed, contemplating suicide, your father died, you just saw his ghost, and it was your uncle that killed him. He was pushed over the edge.

I do belive that he does love Ophelia. It is mentioned that they were in a relationship prior to his madness. And in the letters that he wrote to Ophelia show a deep love for her. I think that he is fighting with himself to try and not to love her, because he saw his mother marry his uncle so quickly after the death of his father. He says "frailty thy name is women".

    If it wasn't for outside influences they would be happily together still. Ophelia loves Hamlet also but has to be loyal to her father and brother and distance himself from him. And also Hamlet confesses his love for Ophelia in the burial scene.  It can be interpreted anyway you want really, thats what makes this story so great.

pyt972 | Student

well....he told her he did not love her because he was crazy with the thoughts of his fathers death and the fact that Claudius could of possibly killed his father. He was only yelling at her in rage. He still loves her deep down in his heart!!

nickklein13 | Student

Flirting doesnt = Love.

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