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How does Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship evolves throughout the play of 'Hamlet'?

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Introduction

In this essay I will consider how Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship evolves throughout the play of "Hamlet" and whether their love was real and true. I will be looking at Act 2 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 1, Act 3 Scene 2 and Act 5 Scene 1. I have chosen these scenes because in these four scenes, Hamlet and Ophelia are either talking to each other, or they are talking about the other. I think Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship is essential to the plot because if Ophelia hadn't gone mad and died, along with Polonius being murdered by Hamlet, then Laertes wouldn't have poisoned Hamlet. The poisoning of Hamlet also leads to Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes dying. In Act 2 Scene 1, Ophelia goes to find her father. She has been frightened by Hamlet, she describes how he came into her room. He didn't say anything, but he was obviously upset. In the lines, "Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other, and with a look so piteous in purport" Ophelia seems worried for him, like she pities him. The way Ophelia describes Hamlet's clothing, "Lord Hamlet with his doublet unbraced, No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled, Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle" is the stereotype of the lover that has been cast aside. ...read more.

Middle

he was the only one in their relationship with love for the other. By changing his mood constantly I think Hamlet is trying to reinforce his act of being mad. By changing the subject and contradicting himself he doesn't make any sense which is one of the characteristics of a stereotypical mad person. In Act 3 Scene 2 Hamlet sits by Ophelia and asks to put his head in her lap, a question that is demeaning in public while at the same time showing that the two have a far more intimate relationship than has been shown so far. She seems insulted as she says "No, my lord" yet Ophelia seemed pleased is with his attention and says, "You are merry, my lord." Hamlet says, "That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs" a very vulgar remark, imagery shows Hamlet has no respect for Ophelia who he sees as a prostitute for selling her soul to Claudius and using his affection for her for profit in spying on him. Hamlet lost respect for Ophelia when she turned her back on him at her father's will. When Ophelia says "I think nothing, my lord" a modern female audience would show a lack of respect for Ophelia because she displays an act of low intelligence by stated she does not think. ...read more.

Conclusion

Yet I feel this way because as part of a modern audience it is now acceptable for women to show their love and feelings, but in Shakespeare's day an audience would be shocked to see Ophelia showing any affection as it was unseemly to do so. Throughout the play Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship evolves throughout the play. After Polonius and Laertes have warned Ophelia, Hamlet seems too caught up and involved in the murder of his father to dwell on his and Ophelia's relationship. But, after a while, when he is stalling the revenge, Hamlet seems then to acting up around Ophelia to offend and embarrass her. I think this is because he is hurt but also because I think he would Ophelia to know what it feels like to be hurt. I feel Hamlet doubt whether Ophelia ever loved him so he tries to test her, by telling her he used to love her and asking to "lie in her lap." As Ophelia does not respond in the manner Hamlet wished for, Hamlet returns to thoughts of his revenge. It is only when he returns from England shocked to find Ophelia dead that he realises and remembers how much he loved her. So Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship goes through hurt, offence, lack of respect and it's only when one of the couple dies that their love finally becomes true. ...read more.

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