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Hamlet Nunnery Scene Tone Analysis

675 words - 3 pages

To love or not to love? In Act 3 Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, lies the truth of Hamlet’s romantic feelings towards Ophelia. The tones that permeate this scene are passionate, indignant and desperate. Hamlet’s evident hurt after Ophelia’s betrayal and subsequent return of his love letters shows us the romantic feelings he still feels for her. He tries to fool everyone else, especially within Polonius’ earshot; therefore he lashes out against Ophelia. Hamlet is indignant that his love and affection has been thrown back at him and that Ophelia- like his mother, Gertrude, are pawns of men and weak. Yet, Hamlet still Ophelia, his pregnant insults hurt him just as much as they hurt Ophelia.

Hamlet has discovered that Ophelia has agreed to be the bait for Polonius and Claudius. He, whether due to paranoia or not, knows that he is being watched. Hamlet quickly becomes angry and distressed, especially when Ophelia gives his love letters back. Ophelia, after being insulted and mocked by him, is asked where her father is. When she lies and replies that Polonius is at her home, Hamlet responds with viciousness, “Let the doors be shut upon him that he may play the fool nowhere but in s’own house,” (III.i. 142-143). The tone is of intense anger because of Ophelia’s dishonesty yet there are hints of passion as well. His passion for her is translated through the intentional hurt he causes to Ophelia. His exasperation towards women he loves- and women in general is echoed throughout his ardent, desperate negations of his love. Hamlet’s tantrum is not necessarily uncalled for; he simply wants to put on a mad show for Polonius and Claudius as well as teach Ophelia a lesson. His love for Ophelia can be easily mistaken for hate but the undertones of this scene prove that his love for her is true because he is heartbroken.

Towards the beginning of the scene, Hamlet, once again contemplates suicide....

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