The Relationship Between Ophelia and Hamlet: William Shakespeare

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The play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, looks at the issue of madness and how it effects the characters of the play. Madness can be looked at from very different perspectives, such as strong and uncontrollable emotions, a person’s desires, and also a persons mental stability. Throughout the play, the audience is questioning the sanity of the main character, Hamlet, as he goes on his quest for revenge. The people around him also show signs of madness, such as Ophelia and Claudius, but in different forms. Existentialist philosopher Friedrich Nietzche says, “There is always some madness in love. But there is also some reason in madness.” What Nietzche is saying is that when you are in love with someone or something, there is always a little bit of madness or crazy to it, but there is also some reason, some explanation, to madness. This essay will prove Nietzche’s statement by looking at Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship, Hamlet’s plot to fool everyone, and Hamlet’s true sanity.
The relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet in the play Hamlet is unknown and is views as constantly changing to the audience. It is known early in the play that there is some sort of relationship. At first it seems that Hamlet does not really care about Ophelia and is just using her for sexual pleasure. However, as the play goes on the views of the relationship changes, as Hamlet appears to have gone mad over his inability to be with Ophelia. The relationship is again put into question when Hamlet forcibly grabs onto Ophelia is a mad fit, showing anger. This raises the question again of if he truly cares for her The audience does not know if this madness is real or if its fake because of Hamlet’s planned madness to fool everyone. It is known to the audience that Ophelia does have feelings for Hamlet, and is in fact in love with him. This is shown when Ophelia becomes crazy due to Hamlet’s unkindness, Ophelia sings, “How should I your true love know from another one? By his cockle hat and staff and his sandal shoon.” (V. IV. 23-26) This shows how Ophelia has became crazy over Hamlet’s inability to show affection towards her and him rejecting her. Ophelia’s madness soon spirals into her commuting suicide by drowning herself in the river. This can be linked to Nietzche’s statement that there is some madness in love, as Ophelia’s love for Hamlet caused her to become crazy. Hamlet also shows signs of madness due to his relationship with Ophelia. Throughout the play it is unknown to the audience if Hamlet truly has feelings for Ophelia. It is not until Act V that the audience becomes aware of Hamlet’s true feelings when he finds out about Ophelia’s death, Hamlet states, “ I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?” (V.I. 255-257) This shows how Hamlet become mad with rage and sorrow as he hears of her death, finally revealing his true feelings. This relates to Nietzche’s statement that there is...

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