Does Hamlet Really Love Ophelia

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What is love? This is an age-old question that has been debated and discussed time and time again. Corinthians 13 tells us that, among other things, love is patient and kind. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, on first glance, Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is neither patient nor kind. In spite of this, throughout the play it is evident that Hamlet truly loved Ophelia and that she was important to him through the letters he sent her, how he responds to her when they are alone, his reaction to her betrayal, and his declaration of love at her funeral. In the play, Hamlet sends letters to Ophelia revealing his true feelings about her. “Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, Doubt truth to be a liar, But never doubt I love” (Act 2. Scene 2. Shakespeare). In this excerpt from the letter, Hamlet tells Ophelia that she can doubt many things including truth itself, but that she should not doubt his love for her. This shows that he loves her because his words act as a declaration saying that no matter what, he will love her. Hamlet was sure that Ophelia would be the only recipient to the letter and so thought he could express his true and honest feelings. Hamlet’s words to Ophelia clearly illustrate that he loved her. In the company of others, one can be deceived into believing that Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is not real, but when they are alone it is apparent that she is significant to him. After Ophelia has obeyed Polonius’ instructions not to see Hamlet, Hamlet seems to be overwhelmed with stress and comes to see her. “Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced; No hat upon his head; his stockings fouled, Ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle; Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other; And with a look so piteous in purport As if he had been loosèd out of hell To speak of horrors—he comes before me” (Act 2 scene 1). After describing his state to Polonius,
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