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Does Hamlet Love Ophelia?

I lov'd Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not (with all their quantity of love)
Make up my sum.

Really? Is it true that Hamlet loves Ophelia so much that he would do anything (including eating a crocodile) for her? I don't think so.

Well, okay, perhaps he does love her, to some extent, but not that much.
"Eat a crocodile? I'll do't." Would you, really?

We first know that there is something between Hamlet and Ophelia when she talks with her brother about it and Laertes, as a good and loving brother, warns her about the danger of loving a prince, because “his will is not his own; For he himself is subject to his birth...for on his choice depends/ The safety and health of this whole state.”

Talking about duty before pleasure, I think Hamlet extremely exploits Ophelia to ensure people of his madness. He plays with Polonius' mind, and subsequently, although not much, the king and queen's minds and assures them that his madness results from his unrequited love to Ophelia. It's part of the plan. That's very clear. Now that's very cruel. It's not that cruel from Hamlet's point of view, of course, because at that point he believes that all women are frail and they are “breeders of sinners.” From that standpoint, “get thee to a nunnery” scene doesn't look very evil to me, although it does look sad.

What I'm trying to say is, although maybe Hamlet has this kind of “love-hate” feelings towards Ophelia, he still thinks his “revenge” business more important. I can't blame him for that, and Ophelia too, being such an obedient daughter, might have pushed Hamlet even further to believe that women are not to be trusted. But to claim that he loves Ophelia so much.. No, I don't believe it, as I truly doubt that “the sun doth move.”

Fine, perhaps one day I will tell you what I think about Hamlet's famous 4-lines poem. 


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