Observing the play Hamlet (Delbanco), written by William Shakespeare, leaves many people questioning whether or not Hamlet really loved Ophelia. The majority of people would say that Hamlet did not really love Ophelia. Throughout the play there are examples to support the fact that Hamlet did not really love her. We might feel differently if we look at the thime period hamlet and Ophelia lived. We need to look at how he acts when he is alone with Ophelia to see that he truly loved her, however I would put Hamlet and Ophelia’s love in the bad love category.
A great illustration of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is the letter he has written her. Hamlet writes, “Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love” (Delbanco1135). He goes on to write, “But that I love thee best, O most best, believe it” (Delbanco1135). This is the only time before her death that Hamlet reveals his true feelings of love to Ophelia. Did Hamlet know he had to hide his love to protect her? Hamlet knew he was going to kill Claudius. Did he know that their love was forbidden by her father? yes, the evidence to prove this is when Hamlet askes "Where is your father?" (Delbanco 1147)
Hamlet confesses “I did love you once” (Delbanco1147) and then states “I loved you not” (Delbanco1147). He also tell Ophelia, “To the nunnery, go, and quickly too.” (Delbanco1148) Hamlet tells her to go to the nunnery three times. I believe that Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to the nunnery to protect her from what is coming. He knows that he is going to kill and does not want her to have to deal with the stigma of his actions. Telling her he never loved her and to go to the nunnery was the ultimate act of love.
Hamlet feels like he has no reason to live after Ophelia is drowned. We can see this in scene V. Act I, where Hamlet encounters Laertes in the graveyard. Laertes accuses Hamlet of never loving his sister. Hamlet replies, “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love makes up my sum” (Delbanco1183). He also states “Be buried quick with her, and so will I” (Delbanco1184). This is evidence that Hamlet is so despondent over Ophelia’s death that he believes he has no reason to live. Hamlet has lost his love forever.
Reading and watching a movie (PBS Video) of the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, I have come to the conclusion that Hamlet really did love Ophelia and she loved him. If Ophelia had not listened to her brother, Laertes, and obeyed her father, Polonius, things might have been different between the two lovers. Hamlet was trying to protect Ophelia from being involved with the revenge he was planning against Claudius. The way Hamlet reacts to Ophelia’s death is proof that he really loved Ophelia. I believe that Hamlet loved Ophelia; however I would classify their love as a bad love, because of their forbidden love by others, the separation of death and their broken hearts.
A Little about Williams Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was born on April 1564 and died on April 1616. He married Anne Hathaway and together they had a daughter and a set of twins. The family lived in Stratford-on-Avon in a house called New Place, which is believed to symbolize his prosperity. Shakespeare worked for the Lord Chamberlain’s Men as an actor and principle playwrite. William Shakespeare is one of the most respected and read playwrite today.
Delbanco, Nicholas and Alan Cheruse. Literature Craft and Voice. Second Edition. New York City: Mc Graw-Hill, 2012. Print.
PBS Video. 27 April 2010. Web. 25 September 2013. <http://video.pbs.org/video/1473795626/>.
Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Delabanco, Nicholas and alan Cheuse. Literature Craft and Voice. New York City: McGraw Hill, 2012. 1111-1193. Book.