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Thesis Statement About Love In Hamlet

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, many questions are raised as to whether or not Hamlet is really in love with Ophelia. Although there is much evidence arguing that Hamlet never loved her and that he was just using her, there is even more evidence refuting that argument. By the way he acts around Ophelia when he is alone with her, he shows that his feelings for her are true. Hamlet shows throughout the play that he is really in love with Ophelia.

One piece of evidence showing that Hamlet really did love Ophelia is when he tells her, “I did love you” (III.i.125). Hamlet confesses that he loved her, but then goes on to say that he never loved her. This could be due to the fact that Hamlet knows his conversation with Ophelia is being watched. There is evidence to prove this when Hamlet immediately asks Ophelia after they are done talking, “Where’s your father?” (III.i.141). When Ophelia tells him that Polonius is at home, Hamlet replies with: “Let the doors be shut upon him that he may play the fool nowhere but in ‘s own house” (III.i.143-44). This implies that Hamlet knows Polonius is watching him and is planning something.

Another point in the story that confirms Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is when Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery. At first, it seems as though Hamlet is mocking her, but it is possible that Ophelia is pregnant with Hamlet’s child. This seems plausible because immediately after he tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery,” Hamlet starts talking about breeding and how it would be bad to bring a child into such an evil world (III.i131). If this was the case, and Ophelia is really pregnant, then Hamlet was only looking out for her and trying to help her. Although at many points in the story it seems as though Hamlet does not love Ophelia, it could be the fact that he is trying to throw everyone else off. Hamlet is smart, and knows that they are watching him and planning something, so he makes it seem like he never loved Ophelia.

Another example of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is the letter he sends her. One line Hamlet writes her is “never doubt I love” (II.ii.127). He tells her that among everything else around her that may not be true, his love for her is real. This is the one time before Ophelia’s death that Hamlet reveals his true feelings. This could be due to the fact that, once Ophelia received the letter, she gave it to her father. Hamlet did not trust Polonius, and from that moment on, Hamlet knew he had to hide his love for Ophelia and act mad to protect her.

The last example which proves that Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is true is when he finds out that she is dead. In the graveyard, Hamlet confronts Laertes about his accusations that he never loved Ophelia. Hamlet responds by saying: “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum” (V.i.285-87). Hamlet has no reason to defend his love for Ophelia now that she is dead, but he still does. Hamlet really did love Ophelia, and tells Laertes, “Be buried quick with her, and so will I” (V.i.296). Hamlet expresses how sad he is over losing her, and that he is just as sad as Laertes. Hamlet feels that he has nothing to live for no that Ophelia is gone.

Throughout the entire play, Hamlet’s love for Ophelia is questioned. What Hamlet is really doing is trying to throw off the other characters and make it seem like he does not love Ophelia, even though he really does. Hamlet did not want Ophelia to become involved in case Claudius decided to get revenge on Hamlet. Hamlet shows his love for Ophelia when he confesses to her that he loves her, when he tells her to go to a nunnery to protect her, when he sends her the letter, and when he finds out that she has died. Although many could argue that Hamlet never loved Ophelia, he was just trying to throw everyone else off. There is a great deal of evidence proving that his love was true.






Below you will find five outstanding thesis statements for Hamlet by William Shakespeare that can be used as essay starters or paper topics. All five incorporate at least one of the themes found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of Hamlet in terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them for your essay. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Hamlet by William Shakespeare at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #1: Hamlet’s Preoccupation with Philosophy

One of the most famous Shakepearean lines—“To be or not to be, that is the question" is found in Hamlet, spoken by the title character himself. While this is the most obvious reference that Hamlet makes to his own philosophy, Hamlet makes frequent proclamations about his philosophy of life. Hamlet’s philosophy touches not only on the subject of love, but also about loyalty, family, and the virtue of suffering, among other themes. His philosophy, summed up in the “To be or not to be" (click here for a full analysis of the “to be or not to be” speech) soliloquy and reflected in his actions, might not be comfortable for all characters or all readers. Hamlet’s philosophy is particular to his own strange obsessions, and help explain the fates of the characters in the play.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #2: Hamlet’s View of Love

Because Hamlet has been disillusioned about love by his mother’s actions, he rejects the possibility that romantic love is an important part of human relationships. He is consumed by the outrageousness of his mother’s love for his uncle, and he rejects Ophelia’s love for him, though he admitted once to loving her. Although Hamlet is justified to feel disgust towards his mother and her actions, his pessimistic view of love has dreadful implications, not just for him, but for other characters as well. For this essay on Hamlet, you might want to take a character analysis approach to Hamlet with this theme as your guide or thesis statement.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #3: Taboos in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Many of Shakespeare’s plays involve transgressions that violate social taboos. Hamlet is no exception. In this play, numerous social norms are violated; however, the most powerful taboo is that of incest. Hamlet is outraged when his mother marries his uncle shortly after the death of his father, and his mother’s action causes him to lose faith in love. Although the incest taboo may seem grotesque, Shakespeare puts his characters in such dynamic tension and outrageous situations in order to make profound observations about the nature of both familial and romantic love.

Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #4: Unmanly Grief in Hamlet

Claudius could hardly be considered to be a model of upright behavior and insight, given that he seduces Gertrude while the grief over her husband’s death is still fresh. While he is obviously advancing his own motives, his speech to Hamlet about “unmanly grief" is oddly compelling. Claudius takes the view that all men die, all men lose their fathers. They enter a period of appropriate grief and then move on. Because Hamlet is not conforming to this norm, Claudius suggests that Hamlet’s grief is not only unhealthy, but unmanly. A close reading of the play supports Claudius’s observation. Although Claudius is certainly not free from reproach, Hamlet’s obsessional grief is not praiseworthy either.

Thesis Statement/Essay Topic #5: The Role of Women in Hamlet

The female characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet are a complicated lot. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, is much maligned for her sexual and romantic alliance with Hamlet’s own uncle. Ophelia is portrayed as a woman who is so consumed with love for Hamlet that she is willing to sacrifice her life for him. Through these two very different characters, Shakespeare portrays women negatively in limited roles. Women have no chance for redemption, and are subject to the decisions that men make for them.

A few articles that might offer some guidance with these thesis statements for Hamlet include :


This list of important quotations from Hamlet by William Shakespeare will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements above by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from Hamlet listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics above and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes and explanations about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned and explained. Aside from the thesis statements above, these quotes alone can act as essay questions or study questions as they are all relevant to the text in an important way. All quotes contain page numbers as well. Look at the bottom of the page to identify which edition of Shakespeare’s Hamlet they are referring to.

“Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet, To give these mourning duties to your father. But you must know your father lost a father, that father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound in filial obligation for some term to do obsequious sorrow. But to persevere in obstinate condolement is a course of impious stubborness, tis unmanly grief…." (I.ii. ll. 87-94).

“O God, God, How stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!." (I.ii.132-134).

“Within a month, Ere, yet the salt of most unrighteous tears had left the flushing in her galled eyes, Shemarried–O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets, It is not, nor it cannot come to good…” (I.ii.153-57).

“Be wary then, best safety lies in fear…." (I.ii.43)

“Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast… who won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen." (I.v.42-46)

“There are more things in heaven and earth,…Than are dreamt of in your philosophy…." (II.i.166-167)

“This must be known, which, being kept close, might move More grief to hid, than hate to utter love." (II.i.113-115)

“To be or not to be, that is the question: Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them." (III.i.55-59)

“Be not too tame neither, but your own discretion be your tutor." (III.ii.16)

Reference: Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In The Riverside Shakespeare. Eds. G. Blakemore Evans and J.J.M. Tobin. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. 1189-1234.

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