Love And Madness In Hamlet

1347 Words6 Pages
Regan Garey
ENG 432-0100
Dr. Cox
19 September 2016
Love and Madness in Hamlet
Although Harold Walley did not pay much attention to Hamlet and Ophelia’s love story in his article titled “Shakespeare’s Conception of ‘Hamlet’” (1933), it is acknowledged that Hamlet “loved the lady Ophelia” and it was through this love that Hamlet “was nearly snared to his destruction” (Walley 784). An age-old question for Shakespearian scholars and audiences of Hamlet has been this: was the love between Hamlet and Ophelia true or was it feigned? Arguments can be made for both sides; Hamlet did, after all, request Ophelia to “get… to a nunnery” (3.1.21). I, however, believe Hamlet and Ophelia did love one another deeply. This love is mutual and runs deep, but it is never brought to fruition due to the choices made on each side; this is, perhaps, the largest tragedy of Hamlet. It is important for readers to realize the time period Hamlet was directly seated in. As pointed out by Reta A. Terry in “’Vows to the Blackest Devil’:
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By this point, Ophelia has lost her father and Hamlet. It becomes clear she is questioning her choices at this point and deeply regrets certain actions taken. Allison A. Chapman, in her article titled “Ophelia’s ‘Old Lauds”: Madness and Hagiography in Hamlet,” discusses Ophelia’s spiral to demise. Chapman points out that “trying to submit to her father and to be a good potential wife for Hamlet has brought her nothing” except “shattering grief and madness” (Chapman 123). Looking back, Ophelia remarks, “how should I your true-love know/ From another one?” (4.5.23-24). Ophelia questions her choices by asking if she could have possibly known who her true love was. She also briefly mentions the story of the baker’s daughter, which is crucial. This mention alone alludes to the fact that Ophelia regretted her choices made with Hamlet. Chapman described the importance of this piece within Hamlet well,
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