The nunnery scene left most of the readers wondering whether Hamlet truly loved Ophelia. The truth of the matter is that Hamlet loved Ophelia. Many challenges, however, surrounded his life, and he wanted to keep Ophelia out of trouble by pretending not to be in love with her. During this scene, he rejected Ophelia, insulted her and he denied his love for her. To a nunnery go. Hamlet chooses to act weird toward Ophelia because he was mad towards his mother and his uncle, Claudius. The ghost of his father, King Hamlet kept appearing to him seeking his vengeance. Furthermore, he was afraid that going to attack Claudius was not going to be an easy task and hence he did not want Ophelia to suffer.
At one instance, Ophelia admits that Hamlet loved her, and she loved him too. He had imputed her with love in honorable fashion and had given countenance to his speech with almost all the holy heaven. When Ophelia recalls this after Hamlet denies his love for her, she is inflicted with a lot of pain and she wonders why he chose to show indifference towards her, reject her and denies his love for her.
Hamlet also confessed that he was in love with Ophelia. I did love you (3.1.125). Immediately after admitting that he loved Ophelia, Hamlet goes on and denies his love for her. Probably, Prince Hamlet was aware that his conversation with Ophelia was being watched by Gertrude and Polonius. He may have opted to give wrong information so that the two could not get to know his intention of destroying Claudius. He went ahead and asked Ophelia where her father was. His desires to know where Polonius was at the moment during their conversation are a clear indication that he was aware of Polonius and Gertrude conspiracy to use Ophelia as bait to trap him.
Hamlet had sent a love letter to his lover Ophelia. In the love letter, one statement reads that Never doubt I love (3.2.127). He goes on attempting to proof his love for Ophelia by telling her that among everything else that surrounds her that may not be true, his love for her is real. This is one of the very significant moment in their love life because the next time that Hamlet confesses his love for Ophelia is on her grave. His actions towards Ophelia that one would have assumed that he never loved her could have been contributed by the fact that Ophelia gave the love letter to her father, Polonius and since Hamlet did not trust him, and he didn't want anyone to find out his mission, he decided to maintain a little distance between him and Ophelia.
When Ophelia dies, Hamlet also admits that he loved her. He did this as a confrontation to Laertes. I love Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not all their quantity of love make up my quantity (5.1.285-287). He expresses his sadness for losing his love Ophelia and doesn't feel like living any longer considering that Ophelia is gone. The evidence of Hamlet's love for Ophelia and his behaviors which acted contrary to his words suggests that his love for her made him protect Ophelia from suffering hence he wanted to keep every other person off.
One of the Hamlet's acts that escalate the readers doubt of his love towards Ophelia is the nunnery scene. He pretends that he has become mad, and he takes this opportunity to reject Ophelia. He is torn into two between killing his uncle Claudius where there was a possibility that he could die and failing to revenge the death of King Hamlet, and he would carry the guilt forever. In either situation, he felt that he could have neglected Ophelia and also during such a time he would not have afforded to take care of the family responsibilities. Hamlet had also been discouraged from his mother's marriage to his uncle Claudius immediately on the death of King Hamlet. He feared such a betrayal and because he made his conclusions that women are weak, and they can quickly change their decisions having been deeply in love with someone who is no more. This also comes clear to him when Ophelia changes her mind and follows her father's instructions of breaking up with him.
At one instance, Hamlet is obsessed with feelings of seeing Ophelia, and he goes to her room at night without clothes. He goes to where Ophelia grabs her by the wrist and just gazes at her forehead. He then leaves the room slowly without looking back. At this point, Ophelia confesses that Hamlet is mad for her love. Also, Ophelias father, Polonius in his discussion with Gertrude and Claudius, reveals that Hamlet is lovesick for Ophelia. He quotes one of his letters to Ophelia The heavenly idol of my soul and he read some poem that indicated that Hamlet loved Ophelia. From all these instances where Hamlet attempts to portray his love for Ophelia although in a hidden manner we can safely conclude and affirm that Hamlet was in love with Ophelia and his love for her was real.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Turtleback Books, 1992. Print.
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