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

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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

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