Lost Love

Unrequited love continues to be a universal pain as it rips away certainty and optimism from someone who was once innocent and optimistic. This is greatly shown in Shakespeare’s Hamlet as an individual who was once willing to fully devote herself to someone she loved is left vulnerable once she is rejected. This ultimately results in a decent into madness as the affected individual no longer has the strength or courage to save herself from the shame of rejection.

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, while following Hamlet’s journey for redemption, shines a light on the subplot of unrequited love through Ophelia who, after constant rejection from various men in her life, succumbs to madness. As an individual who once solely relied on the guidance of those around her is left to her own devices, she struggles to develop a sense of certainty in regard to her future while also maintaining a sense of honour. Eventually, this individual slowly descends into a state of madness as the quest for certainty puts a strain on her relationships. In the quotation “By Cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, ‘Before you tumbled me, you promised me to wed.’ He answers, ‘So would I ha’ done, by yonder sun, an thou hadst not come to my bed.’” (Shakespeare 99) Ophelia reflects on the betrayal she felt after Hamlet promised he would love and support her. After making herself vulnerable to the men she once trusted, Ophelia no longer has the ability to maintain the strength needed to sacrifice herself and her comfort for love. Her loss of love leaves her in a position of grief as she no longer has the means to maintain her sanity as she has no one to turn to and support her. It is made clear that Hamlet has torn away Ophelia’s honour when she says “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day, all in the morning betime, and I a maid at your window, to be your Valentine. Then up he rose, and donned his clothes, and dupped the chamber door. Let in the maid that out a maid, never departed more”. These lines are used to illustrate the shame Ophelia felt after Hamlet used her for his own gain. Ophelia’s devotion to Hamlet eventually causes her to descend into madness as the act of rejecting love leaves her broken and alone.

To be rejected is to be told that you’re not good enough. It’s enough to drive you mad- to force you to act against what you once believed in. For someone to tell you that they don’t want you is like being slapped in the face again and again by your insecurities. As teenagers, we’re more vulnerable to rejection than the average human. We love without logic and sacrifice without justification. As a teenager, I fear rejection, I fear being told no, and I fear never being able to have someone I can trust without having to worry about what they’ll think of me. I’m young, naïve, and vulnerable- I need someone to hold my hand through pain and hardship- I need someone to love me. Day after day, I see people fall apart because of love; one second they’re falling in love and the next second, they’re falling out of love. Both times they fall hard with nothing to keep them safe. I have to stand there, listening to them talk about how they just weren’t meant to be together but how they wish they were. Unrequited love- I fear it. I fear losing control over my emotions and my mind because of rejection. I fear falling out of love just as quickly as I fell into it. I refuse to allow my life to crumble just as Ophelia’s did because of Hamlet. I refuse to make the same mistakes she did- I refuse to be vulnerable.

It isn’t love that makes us go mad- it’s lack of love. It’s the sacrifices we’re forced to make while in love. The values we shed- the lies we cover up- all for them-all for love. It’s gets to us… it hurts us and one day, we can’t take it anymore. The madness overcomes us because no matter how hard we try… they reject us. Reject us after we gave them everything- every little part of ourselves. That’s love… pain, madness, sacrifice.

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