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"Hamlet" by Torristria. Deviantart.com

"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare is a dramatic play that conveys many aspects of love and the emotions attached to it. The love and emotions Hamlet has for his deceased father, are some of the strongest and emphatic examples of love in this play. When we dig deeper think about the relationship between Hamlet and his father, the unapologetic admiration and love for his father is extremely evident. From the grief you hear in his voice at the beginning of the play when Hamlet is still in the sad and depressed stage of mourning his father’s death to the anger and vengeance that comes out when he speaks to his father’s spirit and learns of the murder and incestuous intent from his uncle towards Hamlet's mother, the love for his father is shown throughout the entire play. He views his father not only as the noble King of Denmark he was, but also admires him and views him as his own personal king. This type of love that Hamlet portrays for his father is certainly in the category of the "bad love".  There are a few different ways that "bad love" is expressed by Hamlet.


 First, one of the more obvious emotions Hamlet exudes is his admiration for his deceased father. A son's admiration for his father is something that seems to be a natural emotion from as far back as history goes. The way sons look at their father's as big, strong, and invincible men that are the "master of the universe" seems to be engrained in all males. As men, (given a healthy relationship) we strive to be as good a man as our father as we get older, and our fathers usually want us to be better men than they are or were. Hamlet saw his father as an example of how a man should be. However, Hamlet also looked at his father and saw perfection. Perfection in the form of how emotionally rigid and strong he was. Hamlet's father was the type of man that led other men in his actions and his words and Hamlet knew he was extremely fortunate to have him as his father. When Hamlet first speaks of his father in the first act and says "My father's brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules" (Hamlet, 1.2, Shakespeare), it is evident that he holds his father to the highest standard. It is this comparison that shows that his uncle, though also of noble blood, is not near the man that Hamlets father was. Hercules was one of a kind and someone that history would forever speak of as heroic and invincible. Hamlet's father was this exact same type of person his Hamlet's eyes.


 Another way we can discern Hamlet's love for his father as that of the "bad love" is to take note of how Hamlet's grief and mourning affects him so drastically. The way he weeps and cries in the empty room after everyone leaves in the first act when he is speaking his thoughts of his father’s passing, is a good example of how the loss of a father combined with the extreme affection for a father is a very volatile mixture. Unfortunately, I have experienced the loss of my father and can identify with the grief Hamlet is portraying. Grief is directly related to love in that it is that without love, there can be no grief. To be able to grieve, you must love someone so dearly that the loss of them in your life is so unsettling that it causes emotional and physical distress. Grief can cause fluctuations in weight, depression, and sometimes nearly irreversible mental breakdowns. It is human nature to often tend to focus only on the positive side of love and affection. However, an "ugly" side of love comes out in the form of grief.


 Lastly, in regards to Hamlet's love for his father, vengeance comes as the third form of an example of "bad love". Much like grief, one cannot have vengeance without love. The love someone has for another and the resulting death or personal harm cause by another on purpose can often lead to vengeance. Sometimes, much like Hamlet, people take on a personal vendetta to fulfill their vengeance. Other times, people get their vengeance through the court system. Shakespeare writes of Hamlet’s vengeance when Hamlet swore to his father's spirit "O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain! My tables,--meet it is I set it down, That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain; At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark: So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word; It is 'Adieu, adieu! Remember me.' I have sworn’t.". Hamlet is swearing to his Father's spirit that his uncle, now King of Denmark, will meet his death by Hamlets hand. Hamlet is nowhere near as enamored with the fact that he his next in line to the throne after his mother and uncle as he is with the fact that his focus is on avenging his father’s unnatural death by his own brother. Thus, it is without love, there can be no vengeance.


 Again, so often we as a society tend to only think of the positive aspects of love when love is a topic of conversation or discussion, however, whether we like it or not, there are ugly sides to love. The love that Hamlet has for his father is considered an "ugly love" because of the three aspects that are apparent in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. These aspects are the admiration Hamlet has for his father and how he looks at him as the supreme man and male figure, the grief that Hamlet experiences due to the loss of his beloved father, and the vengeance he seeks against his uncle for killing his father and taking his throne


Works Cited


Shakespeare, William “Hamlet.” Delbanco, Nicholas and Alan Cheuse. Literature Craft and Voice. Second Edition. New York City: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 774. Print


Hamlet. Dir. Gregory Doran. Royal Shakespeare Company, 2008. Videos.pbs.org. Web. 29 September 2013 <http://video.pbs.org/video/1473795626/>


Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet” Shakespeare Online. Shakespeare-online.com 29 September 2013. Web. <http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamletscenes.html>

"William Shakespeare" Biography.com. A&E Networks. 29 September 2013 Web. <http://www.biography.com/people/william-shakespeare-9480323>

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