IS HAMLET's real cause of mourning, not the loss of his father, but the loss of his Mother to his Uncle?I am not suggesting he wouldn't be upset by the loss of his Father, but perhaps his Mother...

IS HAMLET's real cause of mourning, not the loss of his father, but the loss of his Mother to his Uncle?

I am not suggesting he wouldn't be upset by the loss of his Father, but perhaps his Mother leaving him and focusing her adulterous love on his Uncle is his major depression.  He seems very put out that his Mother could have entered into such a union and perhaps he realises that they must have been having a relationship previous to his Dad dying - of course if he had a unsavoury crush on his Mother this woul make him feel very alone!!  hence the protracted mourning well into the marriage ceremony etc.  Of course the ghost telling him of his Uncles dastardly deed just gives him carte blanche to avenge this adulterous affair by killing his Uncle?  Any thoughts?

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timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I'm not sure it really makes a difference.  It reminded me of Claudius' words, "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in batallions."  (Act 4, Scene 5).  Any of the things that happened to Hamlet could have caused more suffering than he "needed."  What the question did cause me to speciulat about is the triangle (Mother-Lover-Son) that appears again in "Brave New World" (Mother-Pope-John).  It's part of an eternal triangle, of course, but since John is forever quoting Hamlet, this may be more than just a coincidence ... just something to think about.

amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What a great question!  I have considered that he is most grieved by the very quick nature of the marriage of his mother and uncle even before he finds out that his father was murdered by Claudius.  So, yes, I think you've got a great point there.  However, I don't think it remains the main point of suffering for Hamlet once he is visited by his father's ghost.

sullymonster's profile pic

sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I think that is a wonderful question, and I very much agree with you (though others may not).  I believe that Hamlet is too concerned with the fact that his mother has remarried his uncle.  It should only matter that his father has been killed - not what his mother does in her personal life.  She still shows affection for him, after all; she has not abandoned her son.  But Hamlet, from the first Act, can't put aside his disgust that she has married his uncle.  Here are some choice quotes:

Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems..../But I have that within which passeth show,/These but the trappings and the suits of woe. (Act i, scene ii)

O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! (I.ii 156-157)

(Gertrude, about Hamlet:)  I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.(II.ii 56-57)

Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul,
And there I see such black and grained spots
As will not leave their tinct. (III.iv.90-92)

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