In his play, Hamlet, William Shakespeare explore?s many different types of love. One type of love is Hamlet?s love toward Ophelia, his romantic love. Shakespeare shows the everlasting love between two people, which can never be broken, friendship, the friendship Hamlet had with Horatio. Paternal love was when Hamlet was very affectionate with his mother, in the beginning of the play, but as it progressed, he became more bitter toward her. Another type of love is the love for power, which Claudius possessed.
There are many ways to prove Hamlet?s love toward Ophelia to be true. At the beginning of the play, when Hamlet decided to pretend madness, he pretends that he does not love Ophelia, he rejects, and insults her ?Get thee to a nunnery.? (3.1.121). This, of course, means that he has been in love with her before, has let her think that she was loved. Before that, when Hamlet learns about his father?s murder, you could see that Hamlet does in fact trust Ophelia, because she is one of the few loved ones he has left to turn to. Sure he trusts, and loves, his family to some extent, but his father is dead, and his uncle is the one who murdered him. The only other woman in his life, his mother Gertrude, has betrayed him in a way, by marrying Claudius. You could see Hamlet?s love for Ophelia because he did write the love letter to her in which he did say he loved her. Act 3 Scene 1 is where it would be possible to consider Hamlet?s love for Ophelia to be untrue. Before visiting with her, Hamlet thinks about suicide in his ?To be or not to be? soliloquy. After that, his purpose for revenge on Claudius makes him more miserable, or mad, but when Ophelia comes Hamlet is momentarily happy and recognizes the importance of his love towards her. Hamlet says to her ?That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discoure to your beauty.?(3.1.107). He is saying to her that she can be honest and fair, but it is almost impossible to join the two because honesty comes from within and beauty is an external feature,. He wanted her to remain pure, like when he says, ?Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd that the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness.?(3.1.111) It is in the ?nunnery scene? in which Hamlet?s attitude towards her starts to change. He insults her, then tells her had once loved her, but then changes his mind into never loved her. It angered Hamlet further when he asked her where her father was, just to see her response. She said he was at home, but of course Hamlet knew he wasn?t. He told her to go to a nunnery because he holds her in a high regard, and does not want her to become corrupted, like Claudius, therefore he feels that she would stay away from all of that in a nunnery. In act 5, at Ophelia?s funeral, Hamlet once and for all declares that he did love Ophelia. He says to Laertes, ?I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum.?(5.1.271)
In Hamlet, Horatio is Hamlet?s one true friend in which he can rely on. The reader can truly see Hamlet through the point of view of Horatio in the play. ?I am glad to see you well? (I.ii.167) Horatio told Hamlet, and Hamlet then calls Horatio ?My good friend?, therefore we know that they are friends. Horatio is the first person Hamlet tells of his guilt and he was the first one to see the ghost. Horatio offers his opinion to Hamlet, ?if your heart is warning you not to, then don?t do it.? Which a true friend will always do. I f it not for him, Hamlet would have never known about the ghost. But of course, he is a true friend. Hamlet admires Horatio for the qualities that Hamlet himself does not posses. Hamlet compliments him for his goodness, and self control, ?Horatio, thou art e?en as just a man, As e?er my conversation cop?d withal.?(3.2.56) Horatio and Hamlet?s friendship, trust, or love for each other is Shakespeare?s way of showing how friendship is the only type of love that will remain until the end. That was true in the end of the play, Horatio was the only one left standing. He was the only one left alive.
Another type of love in Hamlet, is the paternal love between Hamlet and Gertrude, or lack there of. Hamlet was very affectionate with Gertrude in the beginning, but as the play progressed, he became more bitter towards her. This happens as Hamlet learns of his father?s murder. Many questions arise in his fragile mind. Was my mother in on the plan to kill Hamlet Sr.? After Polonious reads the love letter from Hamlet to Ophelia, to Gertrude and Claudius, Gertrude wanted to use Ophelia?s love to bring her son out of madness, showing her motherly characteristics. Then Hamlet decides to put a play on which re-enacts the death of his father in order to see the reaction of A- Claudius? guilt, and B- To see whether or not his mother knew about it. Later on, Hamlet seems mad in everyone?s mind. He threw his mother onto her bed and insisted on condemning her marriage to Claudius, ?Nay, but to live in the rank sweat of an esteamed bed, Stew?s in corruption, honeying and making love Over the nasty sty!?(3.4.92) Obviously his comments are very painful toward her, yet Shakespeare has Hamlet continue to insult her. In Shakespeare?s day, perhaps he viewed the love between a mother and son to be strong and everlasting. So maybe he just wanted to give the image as to what can happen if things were somewhat distorted. But in the long run, Gertrude, the mother, stepped in and drank the poison to save her son.
Now a different type of love in Hamlet, is also present. That is the love Claudius had for power. Claudius was in love, not with Gertrude, but with what came with her. The power to rule. In order to obtain the power and what came with it, Claudius murdered Hamlet Sr. and then possibly deceived Gertrude into loving him to get the thrown. Even Claudius himself admitted the murder when he was praying, ? I am still possess?d of those effects for which I did murther: my crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.?(3.2.53) It makes sense to see why Claudius had to gain by marrying Gertrude, he didn?t love her, just the thrown. All along, Hamlet is the only one who was aware of the true nature of Claudius, ?Nay, but to live in the rank sweat of an esteamed bed, Stew?s in corruption, honeying and making love Over the nasty sty!?(3.4.92) That is how he described their relationship, in his eyes, to Gertrude. The main instance when Claudius and Gertrude?s love is questioned, is at the fencing match. Claudius was prepared to kill his nephew, Hamlet, when Gertrude stepped in to drink the poison, and all Claudius could say was, ?Gertrude, do not drink.?(5.2.290) To the audience he said, ?It is the pois?ned cup, it is too late.?(5.2.292) That one line summed up him whole attitude towards her. Claudius showed three main qualities throughout the play, dishonesty, evilness, and deceitfulness, and all three of these could be shared with another popular Shakespearean character, Lady Macbeth from Macbeth.
Shakespeare in one of his most popular plays, Hamlet, explores many different types of love. He shows the romantic side of Hamlet toward Ophelia, and the good friendship between Hamlet and Horatio. Another one is paternal love. Which in this play is up and down throughout. Finally, the love and lust for power showed by Claudius shows a close comparison to Macbeth?s Lady Macbeth. In the end, the different types of love led to total destruction, so if that was today?s society, what would be the point of love?