• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine Critically, with reference to language, Hamlet's relationship with his mother Gertrude.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine Critically, with reference to language, Hamlet's relationship with his mother Gertrude. The play 'Hamlet' is often classified as one of the most complex plays in the history of Literature. This play, by the greatest of playwrights, William Shakespeare, is regarded as 'a tragedy of the human soul, of which the highest and noblest qualities become under the influence of evil and wickedness in this world, the causes of its own failure and ruin.' Hamlet is chiefly a study of character, rather than a drama of action. 'Hamlet' was written when Shakespeare was in the bitter mood of self-contempt and disgust with experiences of abused s*x and human vice that came to him after his tryst with 'The Dark Lady of the Sonnets'. Shakespeare digresses from the original story, 'Amleth' by Saxo Gramatticus, with his introduction of the theme, 'Frailty thy name is woman' and its projection in the two weak female characters of Gertrude and Ophelia. This gives vent to his deep internal conflict and dark hatred of lustful s*x and contempt for the two women with whom Shakespeare himself had sinned. Hamlet's relationship with his parents, particularly his mother, is the pivotal point of the play. It is clear, right from the very beginning, that Hamlet has a deep relationship with Gertrude, and loves her and respects her immensely. ...read more.

Middle

He seems to forget that she is his mother, who has given birth to him, raised him, and showered him with love. And she deserves a certain degree of respect from her son. However, despite everything, Hamlet's emotional struggles with Human Nature and his shattered illusions, he has not lost love for either of his parents, as reflected in the goals of this scene. When the ghost reappears, Hamlet treats it with respect and humble submission. But, even though he loves his mother, in his heart, he has no respect for her. As he states, "I must be cruel only to be kind". His strong words help express his own feelings of rage, and in addition, help Gertrude realize her sin and lead her towards repentance. After his periods of bitterness, anger and fear he realizes that she finally understands his message about her actions, Claudius, and his own assumed madness. His tone then changes from one of bitterness and rage to one of almost priestly counsel as he explains to her how to remedy the situation. Gertrude is described as a frail character, which lacks feeling. She is of an insensitive nature, not likely to be troubled by guilt. A placid nature, even stolid, she cannot rise high. ...read more.

Conclusion

His conscience does not permit him to kill Claudius without being sure that Claudius is responsible for King Hamlet's regicide. So he waits to kill Claudius only after he is sure Claudius is guilty, after the play-within-the-play. Shakespeare also employs several motifs to enrich the theme of morality. One of these is sickness and disease. He compares Gertrude's sin to a disease or ulcer, which will subtly rot her soul if she ignores it. As he says "will but skin and film the ulcerous place, While ranks corruption, mining all within, infects unseen". A similar motif is the image of the "unweeded garden" in his first soliloquy. Hamlet sees the world, filled with sinful people as an unweeded garden. The connections with Denmark being corrupted and diseased are metaphorical for Gertrude's relationship with Claudius, incestuous and corrupted. Hamlet is the most realistic character Shakespeare ever created. His relationship with his mother was extremely natural, in the fact that it experienced certain abnormalities, as in the case of all relationships. Their love for each other is painful, but ultimately helps them grow as people and fulfill their obligations- Hamlet's duty to avenge his father's death and Gertrude's duty to repent and try to protect her son from himself and those around him. Hamlet was merely a man, with motives unknown to him, with secret agendas and internal conflicts that remain unresolved. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the way Shakespeare presents the relationships between Hamlet and his Mother, Gertrude, making ...

    4 star(s)

    thinks he has the right to talk to her the way he does. "Ay, lady, 'twas my word." Hamlet answers his mothers question harshly, calling her "lady", instead of mother! Hamlets want to control in the scene is immensely obvious.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the "loving mother-son" relationship between Gertrude and Hamlet, with focus on language.

    4 star(s)

    Hamlet also shows that he respects his mother's wishes and answers her plea for him not to go back to his university, saying "I shall all my best obey you, madam". Hamlet feels terrible grief at what he sees as the betrayal of his mother.

  1. Examine Hamlet's Relationship with Gertrude & Ophelia in light of the comment 'Frailty thy ...

    The extreme behaviour which Ophelia reports to her father leads Polonius to believe that he is 'mad' with the 'very ecstasy of love'. Ophelia was obedient to her father's wishes and 'did repel his letters, and denied/ His access to me.'

  2. A study of madness in Hamlet.

    Polonius, the b**t of many sly attacks never suspects him to be anything but mad. It is him who first informs Hamlet's mother and uncle that Hamlet has been acting odd. Polonius "I will be brief: your noble son is mad.

  1. Free essay

    'Frailty Thy Name is Woman' How does Shakespeare present women and sex in Hamlet?

    However Polonius uses it meaning an offer to buy something which shows the audience, Polonius references Ophelia to that of a w***e, corrupted by s*x, shows us a reflection of Polonius' ownership of Ophelia. Ophelia replies to Polonius 'I shall obey my lord.'

  2. In Act two, everyone notices a change in Hamlet because he has began his ...

    While he is talking, Ophelia's funeral procession comes through. Hamlet, upon hearing what has happened, jumps into her grave and even starts to wrestle with Laertes. These are not the actions of a sane man.

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    He talks about losing interest in life and how upset he is by his mother's remarriage and its implications. (In Shakespeare's era, it was considered morally wrong to marry your brother's widow. Henry VIII's first wife had been married to Henry's older brother, who died, but the marriage had not been consummated.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    a dark morning!"); - and yet nothing bordering on the comic on the one hand, nor any striving of the intellect on the other. It is precisely the language of sensation among men who feared no charge of effeminacy, for feeling what they had no want of resolution to bear.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work