A Mothers Love: Too Strong...to Weak

Topics: Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams Pages: 5 (1509 words) Published: November 14, 2012
A Mother’s Love: Too Strong, Too Weak
It is a fact of common knowledge that mother’s theme in literature is quite popular and distinctive, an evidence of which is numerous literary masterpieces, where mother’s characters are involved both first-hand and indirectly. Therefore, their roles are depicted in relatedness with their children, disclosing a nature of their relationships and family ties, and simultaneously emphasizing the meaning of mother’s character not only in literary plot, but in real life as well. That is the case with a purpose of this research paper – to indicate the most considerable and peculiar moments of mother-son relationships in the plays Hamlet and The Glass Menagerie, which are obviously fulfilled with confrontations, issues of moral domination and silent disagreement.

While speaking about Amanda Wingfield and Queen Gertrude, it is very difficult not to notice their constant desire to dominate in the lives of their sons, manipulate their feelings and guide them in certain actions. However, their intentions still remain unattainable, which is one of the similarities between them. In particular, Amanda’s nagging of Tom leads to his withdrawal after the last fight, where she claims, “Don't think about us, a mother deserted, an unmarried sister who's crippled and has no job! Don't let anything interfere with your selfish pleasure I just go, go, go - to the movies!” (Williams, 75). As for Gertrude and Hamlet, their confrontation transforms into mutual accusations of offending the memory of the late King. Hamlet sees a betrayer and a liar in her face, while she cannot accept his impatience and self-rebellion, calling him “my too much changed son at once” (Shakespeare, 29). Hence, Queen Gertrude cannot possibly manipulate her son as well as Amanda Wingfield. One more-aimed resemblance consists in Amanda and Gertrude’s attitude to life. That being that, both of them take everything as it is. To be more precise, Amanda Wingfield always turns back to the old memories, honoring Tom and Laura’s father. Gertrude gets used to being a Queen, excepting and appreciating the entire range of royal benefits, so, she appears to be the embodiment of both a Queen and a mother, which appropriately is concluded in Hamlet’s words: “I shall in my best obey you Mother” (Shakespeare, 11).

Harold Bloom, has made a detailed analysis of Hamlet’s story action by action, including role of the main characters, and Queen Gertrude is not an exception. He speaks of her as an equal character in the events described in the play, despite the priority of Hamlet and Claudius. Bloom states, “To understand Gertrude properly, it is only necessary to examine the lines Shakespeare has chosen for her to say. She is, except for her description of Ophelia’s death, concise and pithy in speech, with a talent of seeing the essence of every situation presented before her eyes. If she is not profound, she is certainly never silly.” (Bloom, 321)

It is interesting also to consider Harold Bloom’s critics of The Glass Menagerie, where he examines the character of Amanda Wingfield as well. The most peculiar is Bloom’s claim of the “critical moment in the play. Blooms says of Amanda’s confession she he says to Tom, “There’s so many things in my heart that I cannot describe to you!” It appears that Amanda is not purposefully cruel or antagonistic after all and her character becomes deeper after this admission.” (Bloom, 33)

Hence, Harold Bloom pointed out that both characters, Amanda Wingfield and Gertrude, are morally very strong personalities, more or less devoted to their sons. At the same time, the confrontations between them and their children are undesignedly initiated by their intensions to direct Tom’s and Hamlet’s life respectively and dominate in their worldview.

The second point of discussion consists in comparison of Hamlet’s and Tom Wingfield’s characters. In addition to difference in time periods, their dreams and goals are also very...
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