October 29, 2012
Unit 2: Family
Hamlet: Family Relationships
The theme, family, in The Tragedy of Hamlet is major theme with lots of major points. This play is notorious for how it dwells on the issue of incest. In Shakespeare’s time, incest was a sin against God and the state. Queen Elizabeth I asked the Church of England to come up with a list of rules about marriage, basically a list of relatives who couldn’t marry, including in-laws. Also another focus is how politics can impact the dynamics of family. The values brought on by a parent are vital in developing a characters values and sense of purpose.
Although Hamlet shows all distress about his mother’s marriage is Claudius, his relationship with his mother is still positive. Clearly Hamlet wants to kill Claudius for killing his father then marrying his mother, he has no urge to murder his mother. In an odd respect for her, he says, “go not to mine uncles bed”. (III.iv.160) When Gertrude is dying at the end of the play, she yells out to Hamlet, “Oh my dear Hamlet! / The drink, the drink! I am poisoned!” (V.ii.315) Hamlet frequently does complain about his mother and how she didn’t mourn for his dead father long enough and how she was all tears at the funeral but moved on quickly
over her grief. Hamlet says even animals or “beasts” grieve for longer periods of time, says Hamlet. But Hamlet quotes, “She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good: but break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.” (I.ii.6)
Hamlets relationship with his father gives the reader a sense of a positive relationship, even though we don’t have much evidence of that. The respect given by Hamlet towards his father is shown through his efforts to avenge his death. Hamlet places him on a throne, comparing him to “Hyperion” while Hamlet feels less significant. He continues to make comparisons to Greek and...