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To Be Or Not To Be Loved

1530 words - 6 pages

William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is the dramatic story of a son who felt betrayed by both his mother, and the woman that he loved. Written in the Elizabethan era, around 1600, “Shakespeare's focus on Hamlet's intellectual conflicts was a significant departure from contemporary revenge tragedies… which tended to dramatize violent acts graphically on stage” (Hamlet). The play depicts Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, who it visited by the ghost of his father, King Hamlet. The ghost reveals how he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who then claimed the title of King, and married Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. Hamlet vows to avenge his father’s untimely death. Hamlet is in love with Ophelia, but her brother, Laertes, and father, Polonius, warn her that Hamlet can never really love her. Ophelia, following her father’s wishes, is unwittingly enlisted to spy on Hamlet, which leaves him feeling betrayed. Hamlet rejects Ophelia, accidently stabs and kills Polonius, and then hides the body. Ophelia becomes so distraught over her father’s death, that she ultimately drowns herself. Hamlet is devastated when he learns of Ophelia’s death. The play culminates with a sword fight between Hamlet and Laertes. Hamlet’s mother dies from inadvertently drinking poisoned wine that was intended to kill Hamlet. Laertes and Hamlet are both stabbed with a poison-tipped sword, but before dying, Laertes confesses that Claudius was the mastermind behind everything. Hamlet forces Claudius to also drink the wine and the irony is that everyone dies in the end. One of the most controversial topics in history is the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia. Hamlet’s letters express his sincere feelings, and reveal that he was very much in love with Ophelia, which makes this a true tragedy of a man who died from a broken heart. Distraught over his father’s death, and feeling abandoned by his mother, Hamlet perceives Ophelia’s betrayal as the last straw, sending him into a tailspin of out-of-control events leading up to his own death.
Ophelia believes that Hamlet loves her, but is warned by her father that Hamlet’s intentions are nothing more than a passing whim. Ophelia explains to Polonius that Hamlet “hath importuned me with love. In an honorable fashion….And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord, With almost all the holy vows of heaven” (1.3.111-115). Polonius tells Ophelia not to believe what Hamlet says, to which she replies “I shall obey, my lord” (1.3.137). Ophelia is torn between her love for Hamlet and obeying her father’s wishes.
Hamlet shows up in Ophelia’s sewing room looking disheveled and acting crazy. She doesn’t know what is bothering him or that he has just seen the ghost of his late father. Pretending to act crazy, Hamlet says that he never loved Ophelia. His behavior confuses her, but she attributes his madness to her returning his letters and refusing to see him. Ophelia describes Hamlet’s disturbing behavior to her...

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