Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
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Was Gertude the real mother of the main character in the play?

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Wow.  I agree with my colleague--there is no evidence I'm aware of that Gertrude is not Hamlet's mother.  Hamlet calls her his mother, King Hamlet calls her his wife, and Gertrude calls Hamlet her son.  No one, at any point in the play, ever suggests anything different. 

So I ask myself what might have prompted such a question.  I can really only think of one thing that might prompt such a thought--Hamlet doesn't treat his mother very well.  While that is not the kind of behavior which should be condoned, we understand his anger with her (no need to recount her offenses here).  Yet he does, in the end, enlist her help and admits to her his madness is an act--something he told very few people including Ophelia, whom he loves.

I, too, am curious what prompted the question.

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frizzyperm | Student

?!? Was Gertrude Hamlet's mother.


Gertrude was married to King Hamlet, the King of Denmark.

Prince Hamlet is next in line for the Danish throne.

So it follows, as night follows day, that Prince Hamlet is the legimate son and heir of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude of Denmark.

The is no mention of King Hamlet having been previously married nor any implication that Prince Hamlet was an illigitimate boy ofthe King's mistress. I'm curious to know why you ask the question?