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How does Shakespeare present aspects of love in Hamlet?

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How does Shakespeare present aspects of love in Hamlet? Love is one of the most powerful themes in Hamlet, however, the relationships and demonstrations of love that we see, are only the subplot of the play. There are also other themes that are extremely prominent in Hamlet including: revenge, betrayal and madness. It is the superior force of revenge that fuels Hamlet's love. When reading Hamlet the audience does become involved in a number of relationships involving Hamlet and the main characters supporting the play. The characters involved include: Hamlet (the Ghost) former King of Denmark, Horatio, Gertrude Queen of Denmark and Ophelia. All the relationships displayed are complex and encompass a wide range of emotions as the play advances, however, the theme of love is still threaded throughout the play. The theme takes on a number of faces which we observe through the relationships Hamlet experiences during the production. We see Hamlet's filial love for his mother, Gertrude, and romantic love for Ophelia. However, it is Hamlet's platonic bond with Horatio, his best friend that proves to be the strongest tie of all and commands the most attention as it relates to the theme of love. ...read more.


It is here that another of Shakespeare's methods becomes clear, Shakespeare uses the theme of revenge to destruct the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet, despite the fact that he has just admitted his true love for her. Hamlet feels that he must remove himself from Ophelia in order to take swift action to revenge is father's murder. A relationship that is similar to that of Hamlet and Ophelia's in the sense that the relationship is broken, is the one between Hamlet and his Mother the Queen. Shakespeare demonstrates this relationship in a way that allows the audience to know that Hamlet really does love his Mother but cannot forgive her for marrying her uncle so quickly after his father's death and he feels that like Ophelia he must leave her behind in order to complete his revenge. In the presentation that Shakespeare gives of the two relationships that Hamlet is involved with, with his Mother and Ophelia, we get the feeling that Hamlet has lost all faith in women. The relationships are similar in the sense that that they are both eventually broken because of the revenge that he has to get for his father. ...read more.


Love supports revenge as a theme because Hamlet sacrifices his love for Ophelia and his mother in order to pursue his revenge, primarily because of his love for his father. Hamlet is willing to pay the ultimate price of his own life as well as others in order to achieve his final revenge. It can be concluded that Hamlet does enjoy some degree of loving relationships with other characters although none so profound as the love he has for Horatio. The two strongest relationships Hamlet shares, outside of his relationship with Horatio, is the filial love for Queen Gertrude and his romantic love for Ophelia. Hamlet's love for Queen Gertrude comes into question upon the death of his father and her marriage to King Claudius. Hamlet's romantic love for Ophelia is in a constant state of flux and beyond his control. Shakespeare demonstrates Hamlet's emotions to vary so much that it is this that allows the audience to question whether any of the loves are genuine and he does not reveal any of the 'make of break' until the final act. The only relationship that does not come into question is Hamlet and Horatio's, their relationship is continual and never changes. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michela Bailey ...read more.

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