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The Effects Of Love In Hamlet

1337 words - 5 pages

Love is found everywhere in both fiction and reality and comes in many different forms. Love is no less common in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and comes in no fewer forms. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, love is exceedingly important, whether it be romantic, taboo, or friendly, because it gives the reader an insightful way to analyze the reasons behind characters’ actions toward others.

Romantic love is often considered the most sacred of all the different types of love because it is the hardest to find and maintain. There are several examples of romance in Hamlet, mainly between Ophelia and Hamlet and King Hamlet and Gertrude. The love that Hamlet and Ophelia share is difficult to find on the surface, but looking deeper, is quite extensive. While Hamlet does blatantly insult and frighten Ophelia, there is a reason as to why he acts so rude towards her: he is protecting her. The first example of this is when Ophelia runs out of her room saying “But truly I do fear it [Hamlet’s antic disposition]” (2, 1, 86). This occurs when Ophelia is describing how Hamlet was hiding in her room and appeared to be insane through his strange appearance and actions. A second example is when Hamlet tells Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery” (3, 1, 121). This occurs when Hamlet and Ophelia are talking while Claudius and Polonius are listening to their discussion. In this statement, the nunnery can be literally interpreted as a convent, thereby Ophelia would be a nun, or the nunnery could use its second, implied, meaning, a brothel, thereby Ophelia would be a prostitute. The reasoning behind why Hamlet frightens Ophelia in her bedroom and implies she is a prostitute is so she will not associate herself with Hamlet should his plans go awry. This will protect Ophelia because if Hamlet is accused of treason, no one will believe that Ophelia was a part of the plan, and she will be safe. Another example of romantic love in Hamlet is the love that King Hamlet has for Gertrude. When King Hamlet, the Ghost, says, “Taint not thy mind nor let thy soul contrive / Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven” (1, 5, 85 - 86) he is showing his love for Gertrude. This is because while he could exact his own personal revenge through Hamlet, he instead forgives her, after she seemingly forgets about him a month after his death, out of his deep love for her. Through the actions to protect and forgive another out of love, the idea of romantic love is evident in Hamlet. This love can explain why these characters sometimes act so peculiarly towards each other. Romance, however, is not the only type of love seen in Hamlet.

Shakespeare commonly uses ‘inappropriate’ love in his plays to get more reaction from his audiences. One example of this is in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which Olivia falls in love with Viola and Viola, disguised as her brother Sebastian, falls in love with Orsino. This love is considered inappropriate because at the time of writing, the early 1600s, homosexuality was not...

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