Hamlet's Treatment of Ophelia and Gertrude

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, March 1997

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Modern folklore suggests women look at a man's relationship with his mother to predict

how they will treat other women in their life. Hamlet is a good example of a son's

treatment of his mother reflecting how he will treat the woman he loves because when

considering Hamlet's attitude and treatment of the Ophelia in William Shakespeare's

play, Hamlet, one must first consider how Hamlet treated his mother. A characteristic of

Hamlet's personality is to make broad, sweeping generalizations and nowhere is this

more evident than in his treatment toward women. Very early in the play, while

discussing 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 Queen

Gertrude, his mother, for remarrying his uncle so soon after the death of his father.

In his

first soliloquy he comments on the speed of her remarriage

Within a month,

Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears

Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,

She married. O, most wicked speed, to post

With 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 and

marrying his uncle, Claudius. In Hamlet's eyes, his father deserves more than one month

of 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 she

is 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's

shrewd and unconscionable...