Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1 Hamlet and Ophelia

Hamlet Act 3, Scene 1 Hamlet and Ophelia

            Hamlet and Ophelia had an ugly kind of love.  There are many different ways that their love can be interpreted.  Some say that Hamlet was faking his harshness towards Ophelia, trying to fool the other characters.  Others say that Hamlet never loved Ophelia.  If they did love each other, and I think they did, than the love between them wasn’t healthy.  Hamlet was emotionally and verbally abusive and Ophelia was passive and naive, which doesn’t make for a healthy relationship.

            Hamlet has many issues with women starting with how he views women.  He views women as weak and liars which stems from his mother.  His mother married his uncle shortly after his father died.  It isn’t for certain if his mother was sleeping with his uncle before his father’s passing. 

Ophelia becomes caught in the middle between her brother, father, and Hamlet.  Ophelia’s brother and father both try to convince her that Hamlet doesn’t really love her and that he only wants her for her virginity.  Hamlet soon points out the contradiction that her brother has made about women not being able to have sex and doesn’t say anything about men who do it.  Ophelia’s father orders her to stop seeing Hamlet and because Ophelia is very loyal to her father and has much respect for him, she complies.  Ophelia stops talking to Hamlet and listening to his vows of love for her, and replying to his letters until her father asks her to spy on Hamlet for him and Ophelia complies out of respect for her father.

During the “nunnery” scene (act I, scene III) Hamlet says,” I did love you once”  “You should not have believed me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you not.”  Hamlet has confessed to Ophelia that he once loved her, but then contradicts himself by saying I love you not.  He may have been saying that because he was suspicious of Ophelia’s father listening in on them or because he never really loved Ophelia.  Hamlet also goes on to say, “Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?”  (Act I, scene III)  Is Ophelia pregnant and he wants her to abort the baby?  It is never clear in the play if Hamlet and Ophelia ever have sex, but there are sexual innuendoes made in a scene.

            Soon after Ophelia’s father orders her to stop seeing Hamlet and after Hamlet has jerked her emotions around, by not wanting to marry her, and saying he doesn’t love her and he never did, Ophelia’s father is killed and she goes crazy.  Ophelia drowns in a shallow river.  Hamlet comes back in time for her funeral and confesses that he loved Ophelia.  It seems he had a lot of issues to deal with between his mother and Ophelia’s brother and father. 

            In the end, Hamlet wants to seek revenge on his uncle, Claudius, but mistakenly kills Ophelia’s father.  Hamlet and Laertes (Ophelia’s brother) have a duel and Hamlet kills Laertes and then dies himself.  Their love was filled with many obstacles and many factors that made it hard for them to both love each other at the same time, this was an ugly love.


Work Cited

Delbanco, Nicholas, and Alan Cheuse. "Hamlet." Literature: Craft and Voice. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 1113-192. Print.

Mabillard, Amanda. The Hamlet and Ophelia SubplotShakespeare Online. 20 Aug. 2000. (date when you accessed the information) <" >.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "Ophelia in Hamlet" Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 1 Oct. 2013.

1Shmoop Editorial Team, "Ophelia in Hamlet," Shmoop University, Inc.,11 November 2008, (accessed October 1, 2013).