WWYD?Let's say you come home from Winter Break, your dad is dead, your mom has married your uncle, (whom you've never much cared for anyway).  What's more, you've been forbidden to go back to...

WWYD?

Let's say you come home from Winter Break, your dad is dead, your mom has married your uncle, (whom you've never much cared for anyway).  What's more, you've been forbidden to go back to school.  How do you think you would react? 

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amy-lepore's profile pic

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

Posted on

One must consider that it was not uncommon for a lady--royalty or not--to marry another free male from her husband's family should her husband be killed or die somehow.  This was the way women survived.  Without a daddy, brother, husband, or other male taking care of her food, clothing, shelter, etc., she would be left to beg for her living.  Take a look at Katherine of Aragon--she married Henry VIII's brother first, then took Henry VIII as her new husband.

Granted, it would have to be emotionally disturbing to call your used-to-be uncle "Dad".  After learning that his uncle-father is the reason his dad is dead, that would poison Thanksgiving and Christmas get togethers indefinitely. 

Poor Hamlet.  I have always given him grief about being "Mr. Waffle"--I imagine that being in the same situation, I would be a supreme waffler in my own right.  

By the way, being from Kentucky and taking lots of jokes about wearing shoes and running faster than my brothers, I chuckled a bit at the "packing up my pig" comment.  Thanks.  :)

linda-allen's profile pic

linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I'd say it's pretty much things as usual at my house. Seriously, I can understand your point. Why don't we stop to consider what Hamlet must be going through mentally and emotionally because of this situation? Is it any wonder that he would be mad--in both the angry and the insane sense of the word? Is it any wonder that he contemplates suicide? It's hard enough when your parents split up. Imagine adding to that the death (murder) of one parent and the hurried marriage of the other to the suspected murderer. Alas, indeed!

clane's profile pic

clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

In some older cultures it is customary for the closest family member to take on the widow be it a brother, cousin, uncle, etc (Ruth from the Bible went through something similar). In Ruth's case when people are married, they literally marry the entire family, the leave their own family and cleave to the husband's family.

In today's world however and in my own life, this simply wouldn't fly, but I don't know that I could just walk away from my mom. I would do as Hamlet did and keep a close watch over my mother and my uncle and his intentions. I would probably also contact a lawyer, being that it's 2008 :), and make sure that my mom and the rest of my family's fortune was protected by some iron-clad trust. This would probably draw out the true intentions of my uncle and if he really truly loved my mother and she him then I guess I wouldn't have much else to balk at.

jamie-wheeler's profile pic

Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Considering that if that all were to happen to me, it would mean that my father had not been king of anywhere, and my uncle would not now be king of anywhere, I would have a great deal more freedom to make choices than Hamlet did.  Despite being "forbidden" to return to school, that still wouldn't keep me in the house if I thought something horrible was happening and my mother wasn't astute enough to see through the crap being fed to her by my uncle.

However, if I did not think something dangerous was happening - if, say, my father had had a heart condition and he probably did just die of natural causes - I might try to stay and help my mom through whatever she's going through at the time.  But the minute Uncle Whats-His-Face looks even the least bit sinister, I would be out of there, with or without Mother.

I think you bring up an important point.  Hamlet is both part of us and completely separate from our experience.  We understand his pain and frustration, yet very few of us are saddled with such weighty responsibility.  Moreover, Hamlet's unique position as prince has ramifications for not only himself and his family, but for his country. 

"Heavy is the head that wears the crown," yes?  Or the one that has yet to accept its burden. 

malibrarian's profile pic

malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Considering that if that all were to happen to me, it would mean that my father had not been king of anywhere, and my uncle would not now be king of anywhere, I would have a great deal more freedom to make choices than Hamlet did.  Despite being "forbidden" to return to school, that still wouldn't keep me in the house if I thought something horrible was happening and my mother wasn't astute enough to see through the crap being fed to her by my uncle.

However, if I did not think something dangerous was happening - if, say, my father had had a heart condition and he probably did just die of natural causes - I might try to stay and help my mom through whatever she's going through at the time.  But the minute Uncle Whats-His-Face looks even the least bit sinister, I would be out of there, with or without Mother.

jeff-hauge's profile pic

jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Hmmmm. If my mother married my uncle I would pack up my pig and move out of West Virginia. Just kidding of course. I never came home for Winter Break. I went to school in San Diego.

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