In Shakespeare's Hamlet, many wonder if Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship was real, true love. Throughout the play there were multiple lines of evidence that supported this theory. Unfortunately, in turn, there were also lines that declined this theory. Hamlet was never able to show his love completely because his heart was broken by another women. This women was his very own mother who he loved dearly. Sadly, she remarried another man, his uncle in fact, just months after his father died. This event placed a shield on his heart so his love for Ophelia was complicated to understand. Even though his love for her was questionable, the play gives several examples of how genuine his love was.  

The first piece of evidence of his genuine love was displayed through a letter. In the letter, Hamlet says "Doubt thou the stars are fire,/ Doubt that the sun doth move,/ Doubt truth to be a liar,/ But never doubt I love" (2.2.116-119). He tells her that even if everything else around her may not be true, his love for her is real. Unfortunately ,Ophelia was being obedient to her father and his restricts to stay away from Hamlet so she gave him the letter to read. She says "as you did command/ I did repel his letter and denied/ His access to me" (2.2.110-112). Hamlet did not like that he poured his heart out to her for the first time and then she just slipped it away to her father. From that moment on he no longer showed her his love he felt. As a matter of fact, she may have not felt the same way since she listened to her father and his restrictions so easily.

Another piece of evidence that Hamlet really did love Ophelia was very blunt. Hamlet told her "I did love you once" (3.1.116). Unfortunately, when one continues to read that scene, he tells Ophelia "You should not have believed me.../I loved you not" (3.1.118-120). These words left Ophelia feeling shameful and "deceived" (3.1.121). She really had feelings for Hamlet and believed he did in turn, but then he shot her down. However, after he made her feel heartbroken, he asked "Where's your father?" (3.1.121). After Ophelia responded he was at home, Hamlet stated "he may play the fool no where but [in his] own house" (3.1.134-135) meaning her father thinks he crashed their relationship, but he really didn't. Hamlet knows he was watching so he displayed himself as not really being in love with his daughter.  

Even though Hamlet no longer wanted to display his love for her, he still clearly did when he found out she was dead. Hamlet said “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers/ Could not with all their quantity of love/ Make up my sum” (5.1.272-274). He was truly in love with her and made that very clear after her death. He could have just continued to hid it, but this was worthy information to be announced. In fact, now that he has lost his love Ophelia, he tells Laertes, “Be buried quick with her, and so will I” (5.2.282) . He no longer had a reason to live now that he had lost his love. He hid his love to protect her, but now that she was gone, he revealed it to everyone. 

With that being said, Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship will never truly be known. This play gave evidence of love, but also contradicted itself. That is why this play is the "ugly" side of love. Hamlet may have really had feelings for Ophelia, but with the grieving and pain of his mothers choices, he was never able to express them completely. Not only that, but with Ophelia's father forbidding her to see him, he could never really have a relationship with her. The love he thought he had for her will never be able to be tested to be true since she obeyed her father and they never were really together.  

Works Cited:

Delbanco, Nicholas, and Alan Cheuse. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Literature: Craft and Voice. Boston:                                McGraw-Hill, 2010. 1112-193. Print.