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Does Hamlet really hate his mother?

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tash2007 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 26, 2007 at 3:32 AM via web

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Does Hamlet really hate his mother?

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 25, 2007 at 1:24 AM (Answer #1)

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Here's a waffling answer: yes and no.

He loves her, and so at the beginning of the play is mostly cold to Claudius because she's failed him: she remarried too quickly, tarnishing the image he has of his parents' love. However, as the play goes on, and he learns that Claudius killed his (Hamlet's) father, this disappointment turns to a more intense sense of betrayal and fury…but he doesn't know how much she knows. (Hence, the wild accusations in Act III.) He's almost mad with anger at her because she betrayed him, her husband, the king, the country…but if he just hated her, pure and simple, he could kill her easily.



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arjun | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted August 31, 2007 at 7:43 PM (Answer #3)

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Hamlet does not hate his mother but he shows povocation on her quick marriage caused his deep shock.When his sorrows cross the limit,he says,Frailty thou thy name of woman.When he meets her he does not use humiliating language.When she drinks the cup of poison unknowingly, he takes her avenge.

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blacksheepunite | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted October 18, 2007 at 9:45 AM (Answer #4)

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I agree with Greg: Hamlet is conflicted. It is clear that they cared about each other prior to Gertrude's remarriage--she worries about his depression, and he worries about her lack of it, but though Hamlet wants her to be more morally upright, he does not wish harm to come to her.

Hamlet is no more "in love" with his mother than Ophelia is in love with her father. The sexual references are no evidence of that--not once does he make reference to a sexual union between him and her, or even pun with them. His comments focus on how easy she is, and fickle. (On the other hand, he does make sexually suggestive comments directed at Ophelia, asking her if she means "country matters" and if he should "lie" his "head upon" her lap).

Hamlet's sexual innuendo calls into question Gertrude's morality and her faithfulness. In this, he insults both her and Claudius, for they have both broken with protocol in their overhasty marriage. Nothing in the text indicates he is concerned about her faithfulness to him; it is her lack of faithfulness to his father that angers and upsets him.

This is a powerful argument in favour of his filial love for his mom because if he were indifferent toward her, he would not feel as deeply hurt, confused, and betrayed as he does.


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lensor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 1, 2008 at 9:17 AM (Answer #5)

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Hamlet is ambivalent in his feelings towards his mother.  He chides her for marrying Claudius so soon after King Hamlet's death.  He displays his anger with her actions in his treatment of her after the performance of The Mousetrap. ("Mother, you have my father much offended.") Yet, in Act V, when he sees her swoon after drinking the poisoned wine, Hamlet attacks Claudius and avenges her death.  His hatred seems to be related more to her actions; he appears to love her as a son should love his mother.  Her actions have angered and disappointed him, but Hamlet ultimately reveals a son's love for his mother when he kills Claudius.

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revolution | College Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted July 19, 2009 at 11:21 PM (Answer #6)

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Yes. He hates his mother because she slept with his uncle before the murder of her father (Hamlet), this implies adultery and cheating of love. She betrayed everybody, including the country and the people.

No. But then, if he really hate her, he would have killed her instantly without a moment hesistation and not wait for a long time before taking action. From this, I could not feel a sense of Hamlet wanting to kill her


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dhiya | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 9, 2010 at 4:10 PM (Answer #7)

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In my point of view Hamlet love his mother very much before his father's death. But after the marriage with Claudius he is highlydissapointed and forsaken by hismother and own uncle (Hamlet's father's brother). And whenHamlet's father's ghost told not to punish Gerude, he realise that there is no mistakesat Gerude.So Hamletonly tried to change his mother's love affair away from the new king Claudius. So he is highly seeked for love by someone. But no one loved Hamlet truly. So thats why he hate his mother

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kishta94 | Student | eNoter

Posted November 21, 2012 at 1:49 PM (Answer #8)

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Pro: 1)Because of her remarriage to his father's murderer after only two months.

2) Her weakness and dependence on men "Frailty,thy name is woman"

3)Her comitting incest by marrying his uncle (He gave a lot of importance to religion)

Con: 1) Consider her as another victim of Claudius's corruption

2) Oedipus complex. Freud believed Hamlet to be in love with his mother.

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sgale | College Teacher | eNoter

Posted September 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM (Answer #9)

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Hamlet both hates and loves his mother.  What child has not thought or whispered to their own parents, "I hate you" in anger? 

Hamlet spent much of his life in his own head, studying away from his home and surrounded by academia. His confusion about his feelings of both hate and love were apparent in many of his long self-analytical monologues.

Hamlet's character is very narcissistic, and given those tendencies it is impossible for him to really ever grasp the depth of love and hate felt by others. Instead he questions every emotion as a fantasy, academically analyzing the reality of what goes on around him.

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