Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare's Hamlet, what is the extent of Hamlet's and Ophelia's relationship?   William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia is complicated by Hamlet's relationship to his mother and by hers with her father. In Act III after Ophelia has been instructed by Polonius, her father to disassociate herself from Hamlet, she greets Hamlet, telling him she has "remembrances" of his to return to him.  Suspecting that she is under the influence of her father, Hamlet asks, "Are you fair?" meaning "Are you being honest?" for he senses subterfuge.  Then, in disgust for this deceit, Hamlet denies having given anything to her, denying that he ever loved her knowing that Polonius listens to their conversation.

Further, Hamlet harbors ill feelings towards Ophelia for the licentious act of his mother's having married Claudius , the brother of his father.  This projection of one known experience onto another is know in psychology, as "supposition of the similitude." Now he generalizes about women, thinking Ophelia, too, is unchaste.  This is why he insults her so during the performance...

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