These quotes could easily relate to numerous events that took place during the course of the play, however, none of them are more interesting then the question of true love. The words true love do not encompass Hamlet and Ophelia; but, Gertrude and Claudius.
Many readers of Hamlet assume that Gertrude and Claudius were madly in love with out truly investigating the nature of their “marriage.” Most arguments on this topic are solely based around one misread and overlooked passage. The ghost clearly pronounced “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,” (1.5.42) but, what did the spirit actually mean? To comprehend what the ghost meant by these words, the sentence needs to be broken down. One word specifically plays a significant role in how the relationship between Claudius and Gertrude is interpreted.
The word “adulterate” has many definitions; counterfeit, corrupted by intermixture, to falsify, to make impure or inferior, or to corrupt. If these definitions are applied to the characteristics of Claudius (to whom the ghost was referring to), or, to the effect Claudius has on Gertrude; it is easily understood why so many are falsely lead to assume that Claudius and Gertrude were partaking in an “incestuous” relationship, this is caused by lack of examination.
The single word “adulterate” opens innumerable doors left to be navigated. Questions arise that could change ones outlook on the entire play. Such as: Did Gertrude know about Claudius’ plans to murder old Hamlet?; What did Gertrude gain by marring Claudius?; What did Claudius have to gain by marring Gertrude?; Were they intimately involved before old Hamlet’s death? and finally, were Claudius and Gertrude in love?
As to the question of weather or not Gertrude knew about the premeditated murder of old Hamlet, the answer is no. There are uncountable examples that prove this to be a false assumption. During the “mouse trap,” a perfor...
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... only words Claudius spoke to prevent his “loving wife” from dying before his eyes. To the audience he spoke, “It is the pois’ned cup, it is too late.” (5.2.292) This statement alone proved that Claudius loved the throne and the power accompanied by it more then he “loved” Gertrude. Using this example to prove that Claudius and Gertrude were not in love can be noted as a one sided argument. Claudius proved to the audience that he did not love Gertrude, however, the question as to weather or not Gertrude loved Claudius still remains indecisive.
It can be concluded that Claudius certainty corrupted Gertrude and made her into a counterfeit figure, in Hamlet’s eyes nevertheless. In the beginning of the play, Hamlet was extremely affection toward his mother. As the play progressed, Hamlet became more and more bitter and acrimonious with her. Hamlet didn’t believe that his mother and Claudius were in love, he didn’t seem to care, he was more interested in preserving his father’s honor.
Queen: Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hamlet: Mother, thou hast my father much offended.
Queen: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Hamlet: Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
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