Hamlet's Treatment Of Ophelia And Gertrude

1407 words - 6 pages

Modern folklore suggests women look at a man's relationship with his mother to predicthow they will treat other women in their life. Hamlet is a good example of a son'streatment of his mother reflecting how he will treat the woman he loves because whenconsidering Hamlet's attitude and treatment of the Ophelia in William Shakespeare'splay, Hamlet, one must first consider how Hamlet treated his mother. A characteristic ofHamlet's personality is to make broad, sweeping generalizations and nowhere is thismore evident than in his treatment toward women. Very early in the play, whilediscussing his mother's transgressions, he comments, "Frailty, thy name is woman. (Hoy,11)." Hamlet appears to believe all women act in the same manner as his mother.The first time the audience meets Hamlet, he is angry and upset at QueenGertrude, his mother, for remarrying his uncle so soon after the death of his father. In hisfirst soliloquy he comments on the speed of her remarriageWithin a month,Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tearsHad left the flushing in her galled eyes,She married. O, most wicked speed, to postWith such dexterity to incestuous sheets!It is not, nor it cannot come to good. (Hoy, 11)It is understandable Hamlet is upset with his mother for forgetting about his father andmarrying his uncle, Claudius. In Hamlet's eyes, his father deserves more than one monthof mourning and by remarrying so quickly, the queen has sullied King Hamlet's memory.This remarriage is a sin and illegal, however special dispensation was made because sheis queen.Hamlet's opinion of his mother worsens as the play progresses because his father,who appears as a ghost, tells him of his mother's adulterous behavior and his uncle'sshrewd and unconscionable murder. Although Hamlet promises to seek revenge on KingClaudius for murdering his father, he is initially more concerned with the ghost'srevelations regarding his mother. King Hamlet tells Hamlet not to be concerned with hismother but after the apparition leaves, it is the first thing Hamlet speaks of. Beforevowing to avenge his father's death, he comments on the sins his mother committed.Although Hamlet decides to pretend to be insane in order to plot against the King,it is clear, he really does go mad. His madness seems to amplify his anger toward hismother. During the play scene, he openly embarrasses her and acted terribly toward herin the closet scene. The closet scene explains much about Hamlet's treatment of womenand his feelings toward his mother. Hamlet yells at his mother for destroying his abilityto love. He accuses her ofsuch an actThat blurs the grace and blush of modesty,Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the roseFrom the fair forehead of an innocent loveAnd sets a blister there.Hamlet curses his mother for being responsible for his inability to love Ophelia. QueenGertrude's actions have caused Hamlet to see all women in a different light because shehas taken away his innocence and love for women.After Hamlet kills...

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