Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous plays, Hamlet, in 1602. For four hundred years, this play has been the ultimate acting challenge. Many actors from Jonathan Pryce to Mel Gibson have acted out Hamlet in many different ways, but the plot remains the same and the story is always fascinating. The reason for the play living on for centuries is not only how rich and complex the plot is, but also because people living in any time period can relate to what Hamlet is going through, which makes the story even more intriguing. Every person has been depressed at one point in his or her life, although maybe not to Hamlet’s extent, and in the play, Hamlet carries out actions that ordinary people would think of doing but never actually perform them. The first set of quotes come right after Hamlet’s soliloquy. With only four words, “I loved you not” (3.1.119) Hamlet changes the entire mood of the play, and it keeps changing until the end of the story, when Hamlet says, “I loved Ophelia” (5.1.282), realizing what he has lost only after she dies.
Hamlet’s feelings towards Ophelia are one of the main themes of the play. The first time that Ophelia is introduced to the readers is when she talks to Laertes and Polonius about Hamlet, saying, “He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders/ Of his affection to me” (1.3.99-100). At this time the audience assumes that Hamlet loves her, and this belief is confirmed in other parts of the play. In the letter that Hamlet writes to Ophelia, which probably was not meant for anyone else’s eyes to see, he says, “Doubt truth to be a liar; / But never doubt I love” (2.2117-118). Thus, perhaps Polonius is right that some of Hamlet’s madness came from his love for Ophelia, which he could not understand. There are times, however, when the reader doubts Hamlet’s true love and presumes that Hamlet is only pretending to be in love with her to appear crazy, as when he is talking to Rosencrantz, and says, “Man delights not me - no, nor woman neither” (2.2.320). Since Rosencrantz is Hamlet’s good friend, and the prince opens up to him, it seems that Hamlet really does not love her as much as the reader presumes at first.
Hamlet’s frequent mood swings and changes in feelings confuse the reader, especially that the author does not clearly say whether the tragic hero really loves Ophelia or not. For example, at the end of his soliloquy, Hamlet says, “Nymph, in thy orisons/ Be all my sins rememb’red” (3.1.88-89), referring to Ophelia as a God-like creature. Nymphs are mythological creatures, usually daughters of gods, who, though living many years, are nevertheless bound to die (Parada). This shows how much Hamlet loves Ophelia, thinking of her as divine and untouchable, but still being mortal and not having absolute power, as her father has power over her, ordering her to stay away from Hamlet. Right after this, he changes his mood and says, “I did love you once” (3.1.115), implying that he used to love her...