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Shakespeare Couples, Ranked from Most to Least Dysfunctional

BBC Wales

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#6: Hamlet & Ophelia

One of Shakespeare’s most famous couples. Why the low ranking? Well, it’s never a good sign when one member of a duo commits suicide. But was Ophelia’s sad ending really all because of her lousy relationship with Hamlet?

Early on, Hamlet tells Ophelia to join a nunnery and rails against marriage. Not the most promising step in their courtship. Then, Hamlet feigns insanity—a secret he doesn't share with Ophelia—which leads to Hamlet getting exiled for getting a bit stab-happy with Polonius. So to recap: Hamlet rejects her, has a mental breakdown, kills her father, and then gets himself banished. Suffice to say, Hamlet wasn’t exactly a rock in Ophelia’s hour of need.

Topics: Books
Tags: shakespeare, hamlet, the tempest, ophelia, othello, macbeth, much ado about nothing, a midsummer night's dream, fictional couples, the merchant of venice, shakespeare characters, shakespeare's plays, shakespeare couples, these are people who really should not be in relationships

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