The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is another play in which
parent’s relationships with their children can be analysed. The parents who are
loved the most tend to be the ones who are not around, like Hamlet’s father. There are three parent and child
relationships in this play which can be commented on: the deceased King Hamlet
and Hamlet, Gertrude and Hamlet, and Polonius and Ophelia. The relationships between parents and
their children are vital in the plot of Hamlet. Most of the parents do not seem
to have good relationships with their children. Throughout, the conflict
between parent and child causes a lot of tension which leads to catastrophe in
the end. The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude seems to be the only
exception. Although Hamlet is clearly angry and upset about his mother marrying
Claudius, his relationship with her is a positive one. At first, it seems that the
relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is not great, with Hamlet despising
his mother because of her betrayal. However, their relationship stays positive.
Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius’ is one of the main reasons Hamlet wishes to
kill his uncle, however, nothing in the play suggests he has any desire to kill
his mother. He does plead with her to ‘go not to mine uncle’s bed’ (Act 3,
Scene 4, l.160). While this is quite an unusual request from a son to his
mother, by asking this Hamlet reveals his concern for his mother’s well-being.
Gertrude also seems to care deeply for Hamlet. This can be seen at the end of
the play, as she lies dying she specifically calls for Hamlet, saying:

No,
no! the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet!

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The
drink, the drink! I am poisoned. (Act 5, Scene2, ll.314-315)

Hamlet is distraught
by the death of his mother at the end of the play, which also reveals how close
his relationship was with her. So, even though they have disputes throughout
the play and Hamlet harbours some resentment for his mother marrying so quickly
after his father’s death, overall, their relationship ends in a good place. This
parent-child relationship links into the wider theme of madness, as the stress
the marriage of his mother to his uncle puts on Hamlet can be said to be one of
the contributing factors to his mental instability within the play. Moreover,
Hamlet at first feigns madness as a way of acting out against his mother to
perhaps punish her for her actions. Nevertheless, his mother’s marriage to
Claudius is definitely a factor that is highly emotional for Hamlet, especially
coupled with the fact that Claudius murdered his father. Therefore, I feel that
Hamlet’s close relationship with his mother, which then gets complicated by her
marriage to Claudius, is one of the reasons he ends up descending into madness
in the play.

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