Does Hamlet Really Love Ophelia?
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, many questions are raised as to whether or not Hamlet is really in love with Ophelia. Although there is much evidence arguing that Hamlet never loved her and that he was just using her, there is even more evidence refuting that argument. By the way he acts around Ophelia when he is alone with her, he shows that his feelings for her are true. Hamlet shows throughout the play that he is really in love with Ophelia.
One piece of evidence showing that Hamlet really did love Ophelia is when he tells her, “I did love you” (III.i.125). Hamlet confesses that he loved her, but then goes on to say that he never loved her. This could be due to the fact that Hamlet knows his conversation with Ophelia is being watched. There is evidence to prove this when Hamlet immediately asks Ophelia after they are done talking, “Where’s your father?” (III.i.141). When Ophelia tells him that Polonius is at home, Hamlet replies with: “Let the doors be shut upon him that he may play the fool nowhere but in ‘s own house” (III.i.143-44). This implies that Hamlet knows Polonius is watching him and is planning something.
Another point in the story that confirms Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is when Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery. At first, it seems as though Hamlet is mocking her, but it is possible that Ophelia is pregnant with Hamlet’s child. This seems plausible because immediately after he tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery,” Hamlet starts talking about breeding and how it would be bad to bring a child into such an evil world (III.i131). If this was the case, and Ophelia is really pregnant, then Hamlet was only looking out for her and trying to help her. Although at many points in the story it seems as though Hamlet does not love Ophelia, it could be the fact that he is trying to throw everyone else off. Hamlet is smart, and knows that they are watching him and planning something, so he makes it seem like he never loved Ophelia.
Another example of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is the letter he sends her. One line Hamlet writes her is “never doubt I love” (II.ii.127). He tells her that among everything else around her that may not be true, his love for her is real. This is the one time before Ophelia’s death that Hamlet reveals his true feelings. This could be due to the fact that, once Ophelia received the letter, she gave it to her father. Hamlet did not trust Polonius, and from that moment on, Hamlet knew he had to hide his love for Ophelia and act mad to protect her.
The last example which proves that Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is true is when he finds out that she is dead. In the graveyard, Hamlet confronts Laertes about his accusations that he never loved Ophelia. Hamlet responds by saying: “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum” (V.i.285-87). Hamlet has no reason to defend his love for Ophelia now that she is dead, but he still does. Hamlet really did love Ophelia, and tells Laertes, “Be buried quick with her, and so will I” (V.i.296). Hamlet expresses how sad he is over losing her, and that he is just as sad as Laertes. Hamlet feels that he has nothing to live for no that Ophelia is gone.
Throughout the entire play, Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is questioned. What Hamlet is really doing is trying to throw off the other characters and make it seem like he does not love Ophelia, even though he really does. Hamlet did not want Ophelia to become involved in case Claudius decided to get revenge on Hamlet. Hamlet shows his love for Ophelia when he confesses to her that he loves her, when he tells her to go to a nunnery to protect her, when he sends her the letter, and when he finds out that she has died. Although many could argue that Hamlet never loved Ophelia, he was just trying to throw everyone else off. There is a great deal of evidence proving that his love was true.