The mechanical regularities of such emotional maladies as they are presented within Hamlet, not only allow his audience to sympathize with the tragic prince. Get an answer for 'Why did the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia break down?' and find homework help for other Hamlet questions at eNotes. Free Essay: The Relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia Table of plays an important role in the fate of the young Prince Hamlet's life.
They suggest, first, that Hamlet's love, though never lost, was, after Ophelia's apparent rejection of him, mingled with suspicion and resentment, and that his treatment of her was due in part to this cause.
And I find it impossible to resist this conclusion. But the question how much of his harshness is meant to be real, and how much assumed, seems to me impossible in some places to answer. For example, his behaviour at the play-scene seems to me to show an intention to hurt and insult; but in the Nunnery-scene which cannot be discussed briefly he is evidently acting a part and suffering acutely, while at the same time his invective, however exaggerated, seems to spring from real feelings; and what is pretence, and what sincerity, appears to me an insoluble problem.
Something depends here on the further question whether or no Hamlet suspects or detects the presence of listeners; but, in the absence of an authentic stage tradition, this question too seems to be unanswerable. But something further seems to follow from the considerations adduced. Hamlet's love, they seem to show, was not only mingled with bitterness, it was also, like all his healthy feelings, weakened and deadened by his melancholy.
Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia
But it was not an absorbing passion; it did not habitually occupy his thoughts; and when he declared that it was such a love as forty thousand brothers could not equal, he spoke sincerely indeed but not truly.
What he said was true, if I may put it thus, of the inner healthy self which doubtless in time would have fully reasserted itself; but it was only partly true of the Hamlet whom we see in the play. And the morbid influence of his melancholy on his love is the cause of those strange facts, that he never alludes to her in his soliloquies, and that he appears not to realise how the death of her father must affect her.
The facts seem almost to force this idea on us. That it is less 'romantic' than the popular view is no argument against it. And psychologically it is quite sound, for a frequent symptom of such melancholy as Hamlet's is a more or less complete paralysis, or even perversion, of the emotion of love. And yet, while feeling no doubt that up to a certain point it is true, I confess I am not satisfied that the explanation of Hamlet's silence regarding Ophelia lies in it. And the reason of this uncertainty is that scarcely any spectators or readers of Hamlet notice this silence at all; that I never noticed it myself till I began to try to solve the problem of Hamlet's relation to Ophelia; and that even now, when I read the play through without pausing to consider particular questions, it scarcely strikes me.
Now Shakespeare wrote primarily for the theatre and not for students, and therefore great weight should be attached to the immediate impressions made by his works. And so it seems at least possible that the explanation of Hamlet's silence may be that Shakespeare, having already a very difficult task to perform in the soliloquies -- that of showing the state of mind which caused Hamlet to delay his vengeance -- did not choose to make his task more difficult by introducing matter which would not only add to the complexity of the subject but might, from its 'sentimental' interest, distract attention from the main point; while, from his theatrical experience, he knew that the audience would not observe how unnatural it was that a man deeply in love, and forced not only to renounce but to wound the woman he loved, should not think of her when he was alone.
But, as this explanation is no more completely convincing to me than the other, I am driven to suspend judgment, and also to suspect that the text admits of no sure interpretation. But it must be remembered that if we could see a contemporary representation of Hamlet, our doubts would probably disappear.
The actor, instructed by the author, would make it clear to us by looks, tones, gestures, and by-play how far Hamlet's feigned harshness to Ophelia was mingled with real bitterness, and again how far his melancholy had deadened his love. Such an act That blurs the grace and blush of modesty, Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love And sets a blister there. There are signs that Hamlet was haunted by the horrible idea that he had been deceived in Ophelia as he had been in his mother; that she was shallow and artificial, and even that what had seemed simple and affectionate love might really have been something very different.
The grossness of his language at the play-scene, and some lines in the Nunnery-scene, suggest this; and, considering the state of his mind, there is nothing unnatural in his suffering from such a suspicion.
I do not suggest that he believed in it, and in the Nunnery-scene it is clear that his healthy perception of her innocence is in conflict with it. He seems to have divined that Polonius suspected him of dishonourable intentions towards Ophelia; and there are also traces of the idea that Polonius had been quite ready to let his daughter run the risk as long as Hamlet was prosperous.
But it is dangerous, of course, to lay stress on inferences drawn from his conversations with Polonius. His hostile attitude towards her can thus be seen as an attempt to alienate her, again, to have her out of the way for his more imminent goal of avenging the murder of his father.
She believes to have lost Hamlet to madness, reversing the effect intended y him. To make things worse, she loses him also physically when he is sent to England as a result of him killing Polonius, her beloved father. Now bereft of two dearly loved persons, her mind cannot cope with the loss and she drifts into madness.
Conclusion The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia is certainly one of the most tragic aspects of the play and full of bitter irony. Hamlet is disgusted by the impurity and falseness of mankind in general and the gentry he is part of specifically, yet he destroys the life and sanity of the most pure and innocent character in the play.
The Relationship Between Hamlet and Ophelia - words | Study Guides and Book Summaries
In Act 3, scene 1, line 91 Hamlet begins with his malicious sarcasm toward her. Before this scene, he has heard the King and Polonius establishing a plan to deduce his unusual and grief-stricken behavior.
Hamlet is well aware that this plan merely uses Ophelia as a tool, and as such, she does not have much option of refusing without angering not only her busybody father but the conniving King as well. Hamlet readily refuses that he cared for her.
Some critics stress, as does J. It is possible that Wilson does not see the potential harm to Ophelia should she disobey her authority figures i. She is undeniably caught in a trap that has been layed, in part, but her lover whom she does love and idealize. Hamlet mourns for his father, but it is the bitterness and ill-will that he harbors towards his mother for her hasty marriage to his uncle that is his most reoccurring occupation.
His thoughts of Ophelia are secondary at best. When it happens that Hamlet accidentally slays Polonius, he does not appear to be thinking of the potential effect of his actions on Ophelia.