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Love After All

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Love After All In William Shakespeare's "Hamlet", Ophelia, the daughter of the King's councilor is not allowed to love prince Hamlet. Princes are not free to marry ladies of the court and both Ophelia's brother and father would not allow her to love him. She followed her father's instruction and did not pursue a relationship with Hamlet. Ophelia must not love Hamlet, and she shows no obvious affection toward him, therefore she does not love him. Contrary to these facts, when the text is analyzed, there are strands of evidence that suggest that she does love Hamlet and is tortures by her inability to express these feelings. In Act 1 Scene 3, Laertes advises his sister on the subject of Hamlet to "Think it no more". Hamlet cannot love Ophelia because, as Laertes knows "His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own; For he himself is subject to his birth: / He may not, as unvalued persons do, Carve for himself; for on his choice depends The safety and health of this whole state". ...read more.


In his so-called "insane" state, Hamlet denied ever giving her the tokens. Had they been unimportant to her, she would not have reacted as she did. She tells him that he knows he sent them "And, with them, words of so sweet breath composed As made the things more rich." It would appear as if she truly wants him to remember the tokens of the times that they had. She described the letters as if she had loved getting them, as if she thought they were sweet. As he starts to rave and say cruel things, such as that he did not love her, she cried out for the sweet heavenly powers to save and restore him. Although he was insane and she was not supposed to love him, a very short period of time reveals that she cherishes their past and wishes for him to return to his previous state. As Ophelia wondered to herself after he left about "what a noble mind is here o'erthrown", we see how she thinks highly of him and she regrets what has befallen him. After Polonius is killed by Hamlet, Ophelia begins to act insane, singing and dancing. ...read more.


All of these songs support that Ophelia is deeply in love with Hamlet. Whether or not he actually promised to marry her, she brought it up, perhaps from a previous experience with him, perhaps from subconscious desire. Whether or not she is insane, she is expressing emotions about love, being trapped in love, the death of a love, and a promise of love. The conclusion that she must love him can be drawn. Her admiration, her caring for him, and her sweet words about his tokens are not those of someone who has no feelings for him. She is confused because of the contrast between her feelings and her family's instructions. Having been taught to follow her orders, she is acting as if Hamlet means nothing to her. When paying close attention to her, we can find many indications that there was love and still is. After her father was killed, she was singing more about love than about things that could relate to her father. Rather than see how she is not allowed to love him and does not show any love, how she feels is easily visible through her words and actions. She did love Hamlet before she committed suicide, it was just forbidden, which did not stop it from leaking out. ...read more.

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