Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet's father doesn't want him to harm his mother. What is his mother's punishment? 

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Shakespeare wanted to be sure that his audience fully understood that Hamlet never had any intention of harming his mother. The ghost of his father tells him not to injure her, and he later vows to himself that he will not do so.

Soft! now to my mother!
O heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
The soul of Nero enter this firm bosom.
Let me be cruel, not unnatural;
I will speak daggers to her, but use none.
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!  (III.ii)

However, when he goes into his mother's chamber, Gertrude gets the idea that he intends to kill her. The reason she gets this idea is that she takes the following words literally.

Come, come, and sit you down. You shall not budge.
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.    (III.iv)

Gertrude already believes her son is insane. He is wearing a rapier. She thinks he is not speaking metaphorically but actually intends to cut her open...

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