The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is another play in whichparent’s relationships with their children can be analysed. The parents who areloved the most tend to be the ones who are not around, like Hamlet’s father. There are three parent and childrelationships in this play which can be commented on: the deceased King Hamletand Hamlet, Gertrude and Hamlet, and Polonius and Ophelia. The relationships between parents andtheir children are vital in the plot of Hamlet. Most of the parents do not seemto have good relationships with their children. Throughout, the conflictbetween parent and child causes a lot of tension which leads to catastrophe inthe end. The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude seems to be the onlyexception.
Although Hamlet is clearly angry and upset about his mother marryingClaudius, his relationship with her is a positive one. At first, it seems that therelationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is not great, with Hamlet despisinghis mother because of her betrayal. However, their relationship stays positive.Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius’ is one of the main reasons Hamlet wishes tokill his uncle, however, nothing in the play suggests he has any desire to killhis 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 hismother, 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 ofthe play, as she lies dying she specifically calls for Hamlet, saying:No,no! the drink, the drink! O my dear Hamlet! Thedrink, the drink! I am poisoned. (Act 5, Scene2, ll.314-315) Hamlet isdevastated by the death of his mother, which also demonstrates his closerelationship with her.
So, even though they have disputes throughout the playand Hamlet harbours some resentment for his mother marrying so quickly afterhis father’s death, overall, their relationship ends in a good place. Thisparent-child relationship links into the wider theme of madness, as the stressthe marriage of his mother to his uncle puts on Hamlet can be said to be one ofthe contributing factors to his mental instability within the play. Moreover,Hamlet at first feigns madness as a way of acting out against his mother toperhaps punish her for her actions. Nevertheless, his mother’s marriage toClaudius is definitely a factor that is highly emotional for Hamlet, especiallycoupled with the fact that Claudius murdered his father. Therefore, I feel thatHamlet’s close relationship with his mother, which then gets complicated by hermarriage to Claudius, is one of the reasons he ends up descending into madnessin the play.