In Hamlet, how does Hamlet make his mother remorseful of her actions in the play?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act 3 scene 4, Hamlet is in his mother's bedchamber.  They discuss the play Hamlet had arranged to discover Claudius' guilt regarding King Hamlet's death.  Gertrude says to him, "Hamlet, you have offended your father (meaning Claudius)."  Hamlet responds with, "Mother, you have offended my father (meaning King Hamlet)."  She does not catch on until Hamlet holds up a mirrror and says, "Come, come, let us see the innermost part of you."   He then goes on the say that it is a bloody deed to kill a King and marry his brother.  She seems to be stunned, as if she hadn't considered murder for her former husband.  He tells her to sit down so he may "wring" her heart and get past all the armor that she has placed there to guard against feelings. He shows her two portraits one of his wholesome father and one of the evil brother who took his father's life.  He says she can not call what she has with Claudius love.  He asks her how she made this choice, was she blindfolded while the devil pushed Claudius toward her?   She tells him his words are like "daggers" to her ears, so she shows us that she is remorseful, at least, of her hasty decision to marry Hamlet's uncle and her dead husband's brother so quickly.


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