In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the protagonist views love as a source of suffering, destruction, and anguish. He never truly loves any of the characters, except for his father, and when he supposedly professes his love for Ophelia, he ends up mocking and offending her. This causes Hamlet much distress, and when news of his father’s death arrives, Ophelia feels betrayed, which eventually leads to her demise. When Hamlet speaks of “pangs of dispriz’d love,” he is referring to the pain of unrequited love, or love that is not returned, which can cause emotional anguish in the lover. The word “pangs” is a noun that implies a brief but intense pain, and Hamlet implies that the grief of unrequited love is very damaging. Additionally, the law’s failure to act on behalf of those who have been wronged further emphasizes the harm of love gone wrong.
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