Shakespeare 's Hamlet : A Close Look At A Son 's Relationship With His Father

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Shakespeare’s Hamlet provides a close look at a son’s relationship with his parents, particularly the way a man’s bond with his mother changes after his father dies. Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is haunted by the violence of his father’s death and the unthinking way in which his mother chooses to wed her dead husband’s brother, the new King Claudius. From his first conversation with the ghost of his father, Hamlet learns that Claudius murdered his father and he grapples with the consequences of this knowledge for the rest of the play. It is clear that Hamlet wants to distance himself from his mother and Claudius even before his conversation with his father’s ghost. However, Hamlet’s distress, particularly towards his mother, becomes palpably more intense after King Hamlet’s ghost riddles Hamlet’s mind with questions about Gertrude’s lack of loyalty to her husband.

Mirroring the ghost’s initial preoccupation with Gertrude’s relationship with Claudius, Hamlet confronts his mother during their Act 3 meeting in her private room, and in the second quarto version of the play, laments that she lives “In the ranck sweat of an inseemed bed/ Stewed in corruption, honying, and making loue/ Ouer the nasty stie” (3.4.2469-2471). This vivid depiction of his mother’s sexuality reveals Hamlet’s passionate disgust for Gertrude’s actions. Additionally, it demonstrates the strong impact of the ghost’s initial statements on his son. However, in the first quarto, these lines are omitted from

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