How did Queen Gertrude's marriage affect her son Hamlet? Why was he so hurt?

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Act I sc2.  "O, that this too too solid flesh would melt...But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue."

This soliloquy is spoken by Hamlet after he sees his mother whom Claudius has married, completely reconciled to her new state.  She does not mourn the death of her husband  (Hamlet's father)  and seems happily married to Claudius. Hamlet is shocked at the change in his mother's attitude and this soliloquy expresses his disgust towards all women in the now famous line: "fraility thy name is woman!"  In fact, he is so disgusted that he wishes that he could die and that he is even prepared to commit suicide. It is this soliloquy which has led many psychoanalytical critics to conclude that Hamlet suffers from an 'Oedipus Complex.

When Hamlet returns to Denmark he is traumatised to discover that his mother has willingly and hastily married his uncle Claudius:

"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!"

He is filled with disgust and revulsion and becomes emotionally scarred and even thinks of committing  suicide. His mother's haste in marrying Claudius transforms him into a misogynist which in turn affects his relationship with Ophelia leading her to commit suicide.

zumba96's profile pic

zumba96 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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He is hurt because he despises the marriage of his mother and his uncle. He despises the fact that his mother married his uncle who is nothing in compare to his dad. He is also appalled that she was so quick to make this decision when previously she would be following his dad around with lots of love. He is angry and grief stricken.  

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