What evidence in this play proves Hamlet's love for Ophelia?

Expert Answers
William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The most convincing evidence of Hamlet's true love for Ophelia comes in Act 5, Scene 1, where Hamlet leaps into Ophelia's grave and grapples with Laertes. He tells his mother, "I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers / Could not, with all their quantity of love, / Make up my sum." Here and in the following lines he expresses his love with great emotion and sincerity. It is hard to understand why he should have treated the poor girl so coldly and so rudely on several occasions before her death, but it seems likely that he was trying to destroy her love for him because he was so disgusted with humanity in general and with his mother's infidelity and lust in particular that he didn't want to marry and become "a breeder of sinners." He seemed to be fighting against himself in his interviews with Ophelia, loving her but trying to drive her away.