Love

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Polonius: It shall do well. But ye do I believe The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love.”

Hamlet is terribly disillusioned by love. Act III scene I (where Hamlet is arguing with Ophelia) is a perfect example. He rejects her and tells her to go to a nunnery, as in no more conjugal love. He also says that there will be no more marriages. He’s mainly disillusioned with the female fickleness of love, as the only person he seems to really trust is Horatio. He loses faith in Ophelia and Gertrude.

In Act III scene II, he remarks on the prologue of the play, "Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?" Ophelia responds "'Tis brief, my lord." To which Hamlet has the bitter response of, "As woman's love."

Also – the play within the play (“The Mousetrap”) is all about an unfaithful spouse who immediately remarries after her husband dies.

In general, just look in Act III scenes I and II. Those scenes are loaded with Hamlet-Ophelia fights.


Note: Although you could argue that Hamlet seems unaffected by almost everything in Act V, except Ophelia's funeral.

2 Comments

Kayla, that's a great point. I think that love or lack of love is a real factor in the reason Hamlet acts the way he does. If he really is mad, the reason could be because he feels that everyone has betrayed him, and like you said, the only one he can trust is Horatio. It's interesting that you pointed out that the only two women that he expressed "love" for were Ophelia and Gertrude and they both deserted him as well, at least he thought so.

To me it seems that Hamlet is trying to get his point across to everyone throoughout the play. He's trying to say that his father was murdered and while he's doing that, he gets frustrated with other people, such as Rozencrantz and Guilenstern, and especially Ophelia, as well as his own mother. It seems as if it's the world against him and Shakespeare does a great job of getting the audience to sympathize with Hamlet in this play.

Note the content of the Valentine song that Ophelia sings. While she doesn't say she gave up her maidenhood to Hamlet, Laertes may not have been at all off base when he warned her not to listen to Hamlet's profession of love.

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