Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet And His Family

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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Hamlet and his mother Gertrude, the queen, have a relationship with great
intensity and many variations in the way they express their love for each other,
which are illustrated throughout the play. Gertrude helps to reveal the anger
and rage that Hamlet feels deep inside. Gertrude is also a strong contributing
factor in Hamlet’s fury and frustration. The strong feelings of love and
respect that Hamlet has toward his mother are tested by many of Gertrude’s
actions. Although in the opening of the play, Hamlet and his mother engage in
tender, loving behavior, there are many instances in which tenderness is far off
in their relationship. When Hamlet is first brought into the play, we learn of
his father’s untimely death, in the movie by Franco Zeffirelli, we are shown
the awful, negative response he has at the funeral. Having great difficulty
coping with the unexpected death of his father, the king, Hamlet continues to
mope and hang his head low two months past the funeral. The queen on the other
hand, sings and dances around as if the death of her husband had no significance
and worse yet, we find out about her engagement to her late husband’s brother.
This strikes Hamlet as being extremely odd and disrespectful to her previous
marriage to his father. Hamlet may honor his mother, but will in no way honor
her decision to marry his uncle. Not wanting to offend his mother by telling her
of his disapproval of her marriage to his uncle, Hamlet keeps his anger and
disbelief inside revealing his feeling to no one. Hamlet is trying desperately
to understand the false actions, in his opinion, of his mother. While suffering
from this confusion, Hamlet is face to face with the ghost of his father. From
the visit of the ghost, Hamlet learns the truth of his father’s death, and his
confusion is no more. The ghost tells Hamlet that it was his uncle who murdered
him and robbed him of his chance for penance. Hearing this news makes Hamlet
furious and he wants revenge on his uncle. He watches his mother kiss and fuss
over his demon of an uncle and it makes him sick. Hamlet decides to act on his
anger, even if it means upsetting and disrespecting his mother who he honors and
loves so dearly. Hamlet uses “the players” to seek his revenge. The players
act out a play which tells a story similar to that of his father’s murder to
make the king repent. Hamlet’s idea works, and the king becomes sick with the
thought of the horror shown on stage being his reality. The queen becomes uneasy
as well. Excited about the king’s reaction to his plan, Hamlet goes to his
mother to taunt her. This is an action never shown by Hamlet before. He boldly
approaches her and forces her to listen to him: QUEEN: Hamlet, thou hast thy
father much offended. HAMLET: Mother, thou hast my father much offended. QUEEN:
Come, come you answer with an idle tongue. HAMLET: Go, go you question with a
wicked tongue. QUEEN: Why, how now, Hamlet? HAMLET: What’s the matter now?
QUEEN: Have you forgotten me? HAMLET: No, by the rood, not so! You are the
Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife, And, would it were not so, you are my
mother. QUEEN: Nay, then I’ll set those to you that can speak. HAMLET: Come,
come, and sit you down. You shall not budge. You shall not go until I set up a
glass. Where you may see the inmost part of you! (1147, lines 10-21) After this
point in the play, Hamlet’s relationship with his mother is very different
than it has been up to this point in the play. The queen is upset with him for
acting as he did toward her, but she sees beyond that and treats him somewhat
normal again. Hamlet, too, is still angry with his mother, but he got his ill
feelings for her out, so he stopped harassing her. Hamlet’s revenge on the
king is over with until the end of the play where the king defies him once
again. While competing in a dual sward match with the brother of Hamlet’s late
lover, Hamlet gets stabbed with a sword, which is soaked with poison. As if this
incident wasn’t unfortunate enough, the king places a poisonous pill in
Hamlet’s drink. Hamlet never sips from this drink, although his mother does.
Watching his mother slip away, as he is, Hamlet charges after the king realizing
that he was responsible for taking his mother’s life. Hamlet pierces the king
with the same sword, which controlled his destiny and pours the poisonous drink
into his mouth. After killing his uncle, Hamlet stumbles to his mother’s side.
He watches her pass away, and dies himself. The love that Hamlet holds so dearly
in his heart for his mother comes out in the final scene. Although Hamlet had
disapproved of his mother’s actions and at one point resented her, he still
held respect, love, and honor for her and proves it by seeking revenge on his
uncle as well as going to his mothers side at her final moments on earth.
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