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Generation Gap Peter Alexander (Hamlet, Father and Son) claims that the former King and his son have "virtually nothing in common but their names."  How can you support or refute this argument?

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malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think they're both manipulators, based on the answer I just gave along those lines. Hamlet the Father knew how to manipulate Hamlet into doing just what he wanted - seek revenge on Claudius for his murder. Hamlet the Son manipulates people throughout the entire play...Ophelia is one of the best examples of this, but really he has people jumping and dancing to his tune through almost the entire play - either thinking he's mad, or thinking he's madly in love, or thinking he's sane again and life is jolly.

I also think both Hamlet the Elder and Younger loved Gertrude to distraction. Not that I believe Prince Hamlet had anything in mind with Mom beyond loving her as a son should, but I think he really adored her which made her marriage to Claudius all the more troubling to him. King Hamlet loved Gertrude so much that he warned Hamlet not to seek revenge on her.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I disagree.  Both are strong characters who have immense leadership abilities.  King Hamlet was well respected by the people.  Hamlet was reared in the house to replace him by birthright and exercises his training in managing an entire country by weighing all the options before making a decision.  Had the King not been murdered in his sleep, I believe he would have been very proud of his son's caution.

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