In many works by Shakespeare, single parents struggle with the difficulties their children have, such as Desdemona and her father in Othello, or Hermia and her father in A Midsummer Nights Dream. Issues between parent and child are evident in Hamlet, but the single parent is a mother, not a father. The poem Meditation at Elsinore by Elizabeth Coatsworth embodies the situation between characters, and has hidden morals within the prose. There are many morals and life lessons in Hamlet, one of which is the effects of poor parenting. In Hamlet, emotional suppression and lack of parenting lead to the downfall of Gertrude, and her son Hamlet. Proper parenting can be defined as caring for children and providing them with shelter, emotional security, food, education, and safety so that they can become successful adults. Gertrude may have had involvement in her husbands murder, and this as such, would qualify her as a poor parent. Her failure to respect Hamlets emotions, provide emotional security for her son, and engender mutual trust confirms her as an unfit parent. This behaviour by Gertrude caused Hamlet to be suspicious, and it was his suspicion that brought about his and his mothers death.
When King Hamlet died, Gertrude quickly remarries Hamlets uncle, Claudius, and the timing of this union is detrimental to the relationship with her son, eliminating all respect Hamlet had for his mother. Gertrude realizes that her swift remarriage has greatly affected her son, and doubt[s] [that] it is no other but the main: / His fathers death and our o erhasty marriage (Hamlet, 2.2.57). She realizes the cause for Hamlets new found insanity, but does not react to the situation as a responsible parent would. Hamlet, being witty and quick, refers to his new parents as his uncle-father and aunt-mother (2.2.362) when talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. This demonstrates that Hamlet has lost respect for both his mother and his uncle. Hamlet tells Horatio that the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables (1.2.180) when asked about the funeral. In a respectful relationship, a mother would have confided in her son before making the choice to remarry. Hamlet grieves for his lost father, but Gertrude seems more interested in spying on him. This causes Hamlet to become suspicious.
When Gertrudes husband died, she did not mourn his death and she did not provide emotional security for her son, in the way mothers are supposed to console their children and support them through the tough times by helping them grieve. Gertrude is annoyed by Hamlets depression, and tells him to stop seek[ing] for [his] noble father in the dust (1.2.70). Instead of comforting Hamlet, she tells him that all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity (1.2.72). She is telling Hamlet to stop weeping over the past, and to move on, when Hamlet misses his father and wants him to return so badly that Hamlet contemplates suicide so that he can be with his father in the next life. Hamlet obviously notices his mothers lack of grieving, and states to himself that a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer! (1.2.150). Hamlet notices that an animal would mourn longer over a dead loved one than his mother did with King Hamlet. This demonstrates that he recognizes the lack of communication between them, and that communication between child and parent is an important part of a healthy relationship. Hamlet is left with no one else, and one by one his loves [betray] his love (Coatsworth, 7). Helping a child grieve and showing empathy for his feelings is the role of a parent. Gertrude failed in this role as Hamlets mother and further exposes herself to his scrutiny.
Gertrude sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on her son, demonstrating that she does not trust Hamlet. Trust is absolutely key to a healthy relationship between mother and son, and can be attributed to proper parenting. Without trust, there is no true...
Cited: oatsworth, Elizabeth. Meditation at Elsinore.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. John Crowther. New York: Spark Group, 2003.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document