Effects of Parental Relationships on Children as Evidenced by Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Effects of Parental Relationships on Children as Evidenced by Hamlet Families are the essential building blocks of the relationships we form in the later years of our lives. If we are given unconditional love by those we hold most dear, we learn to trust in others and their love for us. However, if we do not receive the appropriate attention, we may grow to believe that we are incapable of either being loved or loving others. These kinds of proceedings in a household may lead a child to a lifetime of troubling consequences. Just as important as the relationship they hold with us is the relationship between the mother and father that we grow up observing. Parents should maintain a healthy relationship in order to prevent their children from forming a skewed image of love and trust. After Hamlet’s experience with his mother’s incestuous remarriage to Claudius, he no longer sees love as a pleasant sentiment. Gertrude exclaims the exact basis of her son’s apparent madness when, in response to Claudius’s proclamation that Polonius knows the origin, she exclaims “I doubt it is no other but the main, / His father’s death and o”erhasty marriage.” (II. ii. 59-60). This swift and incestuous marriage suggests to Hamlet “the impermanence of human affection as well as of life, and it also, less obviously, compels him to think of the violation of the union which gave him his own life and being.” (Scott 110). He learns from this occurance that love is nothing but a fleeting emotion, with no meaning to it. This attitude towards love spills over into his treatment of Ophelia. Hamlet’s exclamation of “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (I. ii. 152) applies in his mind, not only to Gertrude, but now also to Ophelia. ... ... middle of paper ... ... in others after forming a firm sense of one’s own identity, saying, “It is only when identity formation is well on its way that true intimacy “ which is really a counterpointing as well as a fusing of identities “ is possible.” (Staal 27). Although not all cases of divorce may end in this fashion, more than likely, most will. It is a difficult experience for children to adjust to and compensate for in their behavior. The same is true of Hamlet in respect to Gertrude’s rapid remarriage to the murderer of her recently departed husband. Her actions have an effect on her son’s way of thinking and ultimately, acting throughout the play. Love and trust are the two most difficult emotions for children in these situations to rebuild after a complicated experience. Therefore, to protect their children, parents should always maintain a healthy, cordial relationship.

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