Hamlet, By William Shakespeare

911 Words4 Pages
The male characters in Hamlet continually abuse both Ophelia and Gertrude, physically and psychologically, as a pathetic attempt to gain power and control over the situation. One of the greatest examples of psychological abuse comes from the harrowing scene where Hamlet and Ophelia have their final conversation before Hamlet leaves for England. During this rage-induced altercation, Hamlet refuses to accept Ophelia’s returning of the gifts previously given to her from him, saying “I never gave you aught” (3.1.97). Ophelia is appalled as Hamlet continues to insult her and laugh in her face. In the climax of the argument, Hamlet tells Ophelia that she “should not have believed me; for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you not” (3.1.117-119). The immense amount of psychological damage received by Ophelia between the addition and removal of love by Hamlet and her father’s death is enough to drive anyone to madness. David M. Smith recounts this as Hamlet’s necessity “to genuine outsideness because of the danger of being co-opted by love” (Smith, 1). However, Hamlet no longer needed to protect himself in his situation. His actions from this scene were not only uncalled for, but added to the slow mental demise of his sweet Ophelia. Hamlet’s next scene of abuse come shortly after this when he goes to speak to Gertrude about her participation in the murder of Old Hamlet. His rage, yet again, takes over, but this time he adopts physical abuse

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