Homework Help

Love Triangle between Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude?Was there a love triangle between...

user profile pic

blessedone | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 14, 2008 at 5:59 PM via web

dislike 1 like
Love Triangle between Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude?

Was there a love triangle between Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude?

3 Answers | Add Yours

user profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted September 14, 2008 at 8:02 PM (Answer #3)

dislike 1 like

Perhaps the term "love triangle" isn't quite right; however, there is an underlying sexual tension between mother and son, and a great deal of jealousy between Claudius and Hamlet in pursuit of Gertrude's affections.  Likewise, Gertrude is torn between her love for her son and her love for Claudius. 

Hamlet's rage, as many scholars have argued, is Oedpial in its intensity.  Some have even suggested that Hamlet rapes his mother (which is how Franco Zeffirelli interprets the post-Polonious murder scene between Hamlet and Gertrude.)

Still, as Marc Shell argues in his study, Children of the Earth, what makes Hamlet so compelling "is not his unconscious refusal to be patricidal and incestuous, but rather his conscious refusal to actually become patricidal and incestuous."

For more information on this and other aspects of Hamlet, you might want to visit our free lectures and discussion questions. 

Thank you for using eNotes! 


user profile pic

lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted September 14, 2008 at 6:17 PM (Answer #2)

dislike 0 like

The term "love triangle" refers to an extramarital relationship, in which one of the married couple has a relationship with a third person.

There is certainly no "love triangle" in the relationship between Claudius and Gertrude and Hamlet.

user profile pic

therestissilence | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM (Answer #4)

dislike 0 like

No. Not in that sense. There is the love/lust between Getrude and Claudius, and Gertrude's love for her son, but nothing other than that.

There is no Oedipus complex in the story, that's just something some people made up because they wanted to sound smart.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes