No, not I. I never gave you aught. (105)
I did love you once. (125)
Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so. (126)
You should not have believed me (127)
I loved you not. (129)
I was the more deceived. (130)
The exchange above, between Hamlet and Ophelia, gives deep insights into Hamlet’s character. One possible interpretation portrays Hamlet as emotional and thoughtless, but loving Ophelia, while another interpretation portrays Hamlet as manipulative and feeling no real love toward Ophelia. Two films of Hamlet, one by Kenneth Branagh and one by Ethan Hawke, each take on one of these interpretations.
Right before the conversation, Ophelia attempts to give back the love letters that Hamlet wrote to her. Hamlet’s response is unexpected. Rather than accepting her gesture to break up, or pleading her to rethink her decision, Hamlet outright denies that he wrote the letters in her hand — “No, not I. I never gave you aught.” Perhaps Hamlet was insecure and vulnerable, and Ophelia’s betrayal goes against his image of himself in control and power. Thus, he denies the evidence of his vulnerability, pushing any blame onto Ophelia. Or perhaps Hamlet says this line with sarcasm, regretting his investment — the letters — into the relationship. Moreover, perhaps Hamlet stating that he did not give anything to Ophelia implies that Hamlet is currently not acting like himself, that he is not who he was when he gave those letters to her. Branagh portrays Hamlet along these interpretations. After Ophelia offers the stack of love letters back, Hamlet, very quickly and quietly, mutters “No.” His face is expressionless, perhaps from shock and denial. After a brief pause, he continues to speak the rest of his lin...
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... the statement very quickly. Hawke’s Hamlet’s lack of anger makes it clear that this line came from rational thought rather than intense emotions. He seems to really mean what he said. Ophelia in this version seems to take Hamlet’s words harder than Ophelia in Branagh’s version. A clip of a jet flying plays after Hamlet’s words, before the camera switches to Ophelia’s face. The jet and its loud noise seems to express the shock that Ophelia feels, the buzz of different thoughts in her mind. She pauses for a long time before turning her head away and whispering, “I was the more deceived.” Interpreting “I love you not” as a true statement completely changes Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia, lending it a darker tone.
Branagh and Hawke created very different portrayals of Hamlet, whose differences can be clearly be seen in these six short lines. Both versions are valid
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