How would you describe Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia? Does he, or did he at any point, love her? What does he seem to want from her?

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Hamlet does love Ophelia throughout the entire play, even during the times when their relationship was spiraling downward. This love is demonstrated by his intense dissapointment at her unwittingly becoming one of "her father's whores." During Ophelia's funeral, Hamlet mourns her absence with a grief so intense it only proves his continuing love. He even states that forty thousand brothers couldn't produce love equal to that of his love for her. The real problem between them was that Ophelia's family did not support their union. Polonius forbade Ophelia to see Hamlet. Both characters were put in comprimising situations and had to make difficult choices. Also, as Ophelia watched Hamlet descend further and further into madness, she started to doubt her feelings toward him. The relationship was definitely complex but there was intense passion and love on both sides.

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