At the beginning of the play, it seems that Hamlet definitely has feelings for Ophelia. He not only cares for her but asks her to marry him. Even though it was quick, he does seem to at least like her. Ophelia at this point in the play does not yet have feelings because she struggles with understanding her surroundings, she is very confused.. At this point, around act 1 and the beginning of act 2, Hamlet has the strong feelings, and Ophelia doesn’t understand yet. As the acts progress Ophelia starts to follow Hamlet and falls in love with him (Act I, Scene III). This is the beginning of her feelings for Hamlet, and Hamlet does not know what his madness will begin to do for them in a relationship. This relationship starts the plot further into the play as we see Hamlet turn to madness. This madness does change the way Hamlet sees Ophelia, but not the way she sees Hamlet. Ophelia in this moment does seem to like Hamlet, but not in a romantic way yet. Did Hamlet and Ophelia really like each other? At this point they did not but it builds up through the play and we begin to see changes in characters and the actions they make.
As the play continues, we can look into Hamlet and his emotions for Ophelia. Ophelia towards the beginning of scene three begins to truly have real feelings for Hamlet. Sadly, this is when Hamlet has to start “keeping up his illusion” to distract and throw everyone off so no one thinks he is just acting mad. Hamlet tells Ophelia that she is a sinner and does not want to associate himself with her. Although he does, he has to keep up his act. (Act 3, Scene 1, Lines 130-133). This comment bothers her, but being so loyal and forgiving like she is, she kept it to herself in an unhealthy manner. Hamlet did not give Ophelia any signs that his love was real. That ended after the first few scenes. Ophelia, being somewhat confused, continued to love Hamlet. To her, the love between them was real and she was not quite yet afraid to show it.
As the play progresses, Hamlet is becoming more and more insane. He starts to manipulate people, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Ophelia’s dad Polonius notices this. When her dad sees what Hamlet is doing, he talks to Ophelia and tells her not to talk to Hamlet anymore. (Act 1, Scene 3) This deception is constant, and always behind Hamlet’s back. To the others, Hamlet is unaware that they are planning against him. But to Hamlet, he is completely aware of what is happening and continues to fake his madness so that people will believe him. I do think that Hamlet did always love Ophelia even in his madness, and used his words to tr and shut her out. This might separate him and her, but he believes he does enough for them, and that will keep them together no matter the circumstance. This is definitely is a difficult spot for both of them to be in, but the love in their relationship becomes much worse as she gets closer and closer to her time of death in the play.
Moving to the later parts of the scenes, Hamlet becomes more and more insane after seeing a ghost, and accidentally kills Polonius, or Ophelia’s Dad in the process. Before this happens, Hamlet was assaulting Ophelia. Calling her names, telling her she isn’t worth anything because she isn’t married, and drawing farther and farther away from her by giving her no attention and no love at all. This is all part of Hamlet’s fake craziness, but Ophelia does not know this and it starts to take a toll on her and on Hamlet. (Act 3, Scenes 1 and 2) Hamlet begins to lie to more and more characters in the play, including his mom who he is trying to help after seeing the ghost again. After Hamlet kills her dad, Ophelia becomes mad herself and loses interest in love and care for Hamlet. This was a really big turning part in the play because now Ophelia no longer understands the point of living after being turned down by someone, she loved , but he hid his love for her, and her dad dying. (Act 4, Scene 5).
After Ophelia dies due to her madness, she is buried by the king and a group of people from the castle. This is where we can see Hamlet and is true feelings come out. While Ophelia is being buried, Hamlet loses himself and tells the guys burying her to quicken the process so he does not have to look at what is fake madness has done to those around him. Especially the one he loved. (Act 5, Scene 1, Lines 290-300) Ophelia has done nothing wrong at all, and through the entirety of the play, she never did. This sadness between the two characters shows the realness of their love even if it was not discussed between the two of them.
Hamlet and Ophelia did love each other in a deep way, but Ophelia did not know how to express that, and Hamlet and his pride got in the way of saving her life and letting them live together. Their love was real and very strong but it ended when Ophelia died. Hamlet finally let out his feelings, but it was too late.
- Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Florida: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. Print.