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unknown_lady
09-30-2007, 07:38 PM
heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey all

what's up


i have to write an essay about Hamlet as a religious drama

:sick: but i couldn't find any information :(


can any one help me plllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllz


:blush:

thanx

Jim58
09-30-2007, 09:06 PM
When I put "Hamlet as a religious drama" into Google I get all sorts of information.

unknown_lady
10-01-2007, 11:36 PM
ok thanx bro

Gladys
10-04-2007, 04:35 AM
Why Hamlet is so outraged by Claudius’ marriage to Gertrude after a very short period of mourning? Religious beliefs in Elizabethan times explain.

The Ghost calls Claudius


“that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
... won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen"
(I.i 48—52)

The Protestant view at the time dictated that a widow should not remarry, but remains married to her deceased husband. The drama in Hamlet's quest hinges on vengence and the the virgin-whore dichotomy.

unknown_lady
11-01-2007, 09:47 AM
thnxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx aloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot

Gladys for this information , really it's my first time to know this information

thanks alot bro ^_^

Gladys
11-01-2007, 06:59 PM
Although too late for your essay, I’ve thought some more.

While Gertrude had the legal right to remarry, protocol required that she delay a year or so. Quick remarriage was even the norm among peasants, but noble Hamlet hoped for restraint befitting the Virgin Mary – like some step-children today.

Claudius covets Gertrude. Even if bereaved Gertrude did marry Claudius in haste for fear of personal and political hazards, she soon falls in love. Optimistic, trusting and caring, her sunny sexuality is endearing.

Gertrude grieves briefly after Old Hamlet’s death, can’t see through affectionate Claudius (the murderer), and little understands her beloved Hamlet. Her personality is reality based, dealing with ‘what is’. Unlike Hamlet, Gertrude lacks introspection or ethical insight. Her utterances focus on the here and now, except when cornered by an self-righteous Hamlet and told what to introspect:
“O Hamlet, speak no more! Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul”
She is genuinely astonished when her beloved son assails her integrity. But is she flawed as Old Hamlet, Hamlet and she herself says?

Of what offence does Gertrude naively pleads guilty? Her confession seems more a self-effacing admission of Original Sin than of any temporal transgression if, as I believe, she is innocent of adultery or abetting Old Hamlet’s murder.

I suspect that Gertrude, the “most seeming-virtuous queen” and “radiant angel”, is as flawless as the Virgin Mary. Not so her beloved son!

oracle13
11-02-2007, 01:34 PM
I'm a little hesitant to agree with your assessment of Gertrude as 'flawless.'

I definitely agree with you in that Gertrude lacks introspection and ethical insight - the most obvious evidence for this is her response to the 'mousetrap' play: 'Methinks the woman doth protest too much.' I would also argue that her inability to see Old Hamlet's ghost, during her chat with Hamlet in Act 3 Scene 4, is indicative of her moral blindness.

Not only this, there is some ambiguity when she echoes 'As kill a king?' in the same scene, in response to Hamlet's accusation. Indeed, many stage productions have drawn upon this ambiguity, highlighting the possiblity that Gertrude knew of her new husband's crime.

Even if she didn't have any idea of her husband's crime, I feel that her lack of moral awareness and general dullness is enough to mark her a bad mother. As you said, she is completely incapable of understanding her son, a problem which, in my mind, should be cause for concern in any mother worth the name.

As for Hamlet as a religious play, there is a lot more you can talk about. One interesting development of Hamlet during the play is his gradual 'realisation' that his purpose of revenge is 'divine.' In Act 5 Scene 2, Hamlet speaks to Horatio of 'a dvinity that shapes our ends / Rough-hew them how we will -'. I think this is a very important line - we have heard six of Hamlet's soliloquys by now, each of which deals with the problems of intellect and the choice it gives. Here, at the end of the play, it seems as if the only way Hamlet is able to convince himself to commit the revenge is by placing his actions in the hands of a higher power.

Another issue is Shakespeare's intentional confusion of the two established doctrines of Protestantism and Catholicism within the play. England was a mostly Protestant country at the time Hamlet was written - strangely, then, the Ghost is a Catholic conceit (the ghost, as Shakespeare writes, exists mainly in purgatory, an entirely catholic concept.) There's much much more you can say, you just have to keep an open mind while reading the play.

Gladys
11-04-2007, 01:26 AM
I do agree that, “As for Hamlet as a religious play, there is a lot more you can talk about”. For instance:


The sin of suicide in, “Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!”; and again in, “Is she to be buried in Christian burial when she wilfully seeks her own salvation?”

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust in “That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if 'twere Cain's jawbone, that did the first murther! This might be the pate of a Politician, which this [jackass] now o'erreaches; one that would circumvent God?, might it not?”


…her lack of moral awareness and general dullness is enough to mark her a bad mother

While Gertrude may well be ‘a bad mother’, you condemn half of motherhood! Her lack of intuition is a common enough personality trait. She notices and deals with all the sensory details of the present. Much less common is a Hamlet, who seeks to understand, interpret and form overall patterns and relationships, and who, with imagination, speculates on possibilities, looking into and forecasting the future.

Although your character may be deemed flawed, your personality traits are at worst a handicap. Gertrude should not be blamed! And least of all, for lacking the wise council of Hamlet’s chauvinistic ghost.

Gertrude has much in her favour: she is likeable, responsive, courageous, ingenuous and loyal. She is protective of Claudius even after Hamlet has set her “up a glass”. Her open engagement with others and sunny sexuality (weakly implied in ‘she would hang on him’, ‘Sweet Gertrude’, ‘how cheerfully my mother looks’ and ‘man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother’, as well as in the love of Old Hamlet and in Claudius’ enthusiasm for her before and after marriage) are dazzling.

Gladys
11-04-2007, 01:33 AM
Post deleted.

unknown_lady
11-04-2007, 11:44 AM
Glayds

Thanxxxxxxxxxxxxxx aloooooooot ^_^

it is fine , it will help me in exam

thanx alot for the information

Oracle 13 thanx alot bro

i read it & study it but i don't know that muh

but i guess both of you have good idea and opinion

& i blieve in them both

thanx bros

oracle13
11-05-2007, 07:31 PM
Gladys, just to let you know I will get back to you with something intelligent, I'm just really busy at the moment! :)

Regit
11-16-2007, 04:23 AM
While Gertrude had the legal right to remarry, protocol required that she delay a year or so. Quick remarriage was even the norm among peasants, but noble Hamlet hoped for restraint befitting the Virgin Mary – like some step-children today.

Only protocol? I dare say that, had they existed, her regard for the integrity of her marriage with, and her undying (or, at least, lingering) love and grief for the old Hamlet would be the main preventions of her remarrying so swiftly after his death, and not protocol. It is no crime indeed not to have those qualities since, as you say, the law tolerates lack of virtue. But I certainly do not believe that those qualities, those that value love and marriage above what is given by legality and doctrine, are as you say worthy only of the Virgin Mary. In fact, I’d say those qualities are quite common in the Shakespearean womanhood: Cleopatra, Juliet, Jessica, to name a few. And so, in the world of Shakespearean plays alone, Gertrude as a woman is inferior.

Among “the step-children of today”, I doubt that too many have to see their mother remarry within a month of their father’s sudden death. It wasn’t like the old Hamlet died of some long and drawn-out illness, and there was a process of grief. He was murdered in his prime; the prime, then, of his marriage; cut off even in the blossoms of his sin. One would have thought that the shock of that alone would occupy a compassionate wife a few months. One day she was happily married, completely in love and with the most sudden change of fortune, one month later she was happily married and completely in love again with another man? What qualities does it demonstrate that she can be thus quickly seduced out of love, and out of grief, then into love again, and into a new bed? Within a month! Ah, even the devious uncle can’t be given so much credit. It does not take the restraint of Mary to sleep alone for more than a month, I am sure.

But of course, one can always look to find a defence:


Her personality is reality based, dealing with ‘what is’. …Her utterances focus on the here and now. She notices and deals with all the sensory details of the present.

I agree with you: no adultery, and no plotting murder, no sin except the Original Sin, just unawareness of future and past. Yes I see ‘what is’. I do. “ You think what now you speak”, is the ‘here and now’, right? ‘What is’ doesn’t need to keep a promise to a dead person: a dead person can’t make ‘what is’ happy, a dead person can’t feel disappointment or anger ‘here and now’, besides law and doctrine say it doesn’t have to. So ‘what is’ is ok. It is “that glib and oily art, to speak and purpose not”, because “purpose is but a slave to memory, of violent birth but poor validity”; and “memory” has no place in the ‘here and now’, has it? Thus ‘what is’ is ok. Devoid of human sentiment, of memory, even of logical deduction - since deduction surely requires a process - but ok none the less. I am not yet addressing Gertrude's particulars; but only pointing out the flaws of your argument.

If all remained as normal in the state of Denmark, and Claudius were never found out, and if he then died suddenly in an accident, and Gertrude again remarried and fell in love one month after that, and the process repeated itself again and again, one could again and again jump to her defence on the grounds of legality and unawareness, combined with the ‘here and now’. Flawless Gertrude, or ‘glib’ as one could interpret the word.


She is genuinely astonished when her beloved son assails her integrity.

Gertrude’s honesty is never doubted. Not by Hamlet the father or the son. “I do believe you think what now you speak,” demonstrates the prince of this in his play; and treachery is pointed at Claudius alone in the Ghost’s accusations. No, “shameful lust”, bad moral judgement, and neglect of moral duties are the charges that Gertrude faces. Hamlet the King, as the son, thinks of love and the vow of marriage as going “hand in hand” with “dignity”. Their sense of duty, of son to father, of wife to husband, are strong also. And from that came their criticism of Gertrude, not dishonesty. Legally speaking, the dishonest intention is not a necessary prerequisite of all guilt. Negligence in Torts is the most obvious example. Somehow one, even the most honest of us all, has the duty to check our own action to make sure its moral.


Her personality is reality based, dealing with ‘what is’…. Although your character may be deemed flawed, your personality traits are at worst a handicap. Gertrude should not be blamed!

How can a personality be solely based on the present, on ‘what is’ and nothing else? Character building must be a process of social construction and moral realisation, of introspective as well as outside influence. She’s not a cockroach, she has the power of deduction, of passion, as many instances in the play can show. What Gertrude is must in some way be the consequence of her emotional and moral past. How can one be unmoved, completely indifferent now and claim that yesterday she was truly in love? And how can one claim now that she is truly in love if she can tomorrow lose that love and feel nothing at all? She cannot. And the same would go to the sense of duty, the dignity of a promise, the sentiment of sharing a bed with another person; they mean something even if they no longer are or may not be in the future. Any person is responsible for his or her personal development, that of personality, morality, power of good judgement. Ability is potential, personality is effect: yes, Gertrude is to blame for the failings of her virtue; as a human, her ability would be qualification enough.


While Gertrude may well be ‘a bad mother’, you condemn half of motherhood! Her lack of intuition is a common enough personality trait. Much less common is a Hamlet, who seeks to understand, interpret and form overall patterns and relationships, and who, with imagination, speculates on possibilities, looking into and forecasting the future.

Not half of the motherhood I know. Motherhood is essentially womanhood, with exceptions. Let’s say that most of the women we know are or have the potential to be a wife and mother. Are you saying that half of the women you know lack intuition, lack introspection, and have flawed personalities that can be considered a handicap? Or are you saying that half of them become that after turning into a mother? Not me. Such complete lack of intuition as you described is a rarity. And, as you rightly said, such a intuitive personality as Hamlet’s is also rare. There is a vast number that fills the gap. With so much space to work with, you can’t possibly defend Gertrude by saying that Hamlet is a rare case. Hamlet’s person is to Gertrude no justification.



Gertrude has much in her favour: she is likeable, responsive, courageous, ingenuous and loyal. Her open engagement with others ...(weakly implied in ‘she would hang on him’, ‘Sweet Gertrude’, ‘how cheerfully my mother looks’ and ‘man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother’, as well as in the love of Old Hamlet and in Claudius’ enthusiasm for her before and after marriage) are dazzling.

There was no mention of her love for the old Hamlet except through the ghost and Hamlet himself. And the accusations of her flaws also come from those two sources, thus one cannot employ them.

Apart from Gertrude herself, I would argue that the best source to verify Gertrude’s love for Hamlet the king is himself and their son. Indeed, Gertrude mentions very little about her love for Hamlet the father: you see, she loves someone else now and that would be inappropriate. So we can never know if Gertrude was in love or not but by speculation. That might defeat the ‘love’ argument, though there is also little to suggest that Gertrude was not in love with Hamlet the king. It does not, however, justify her other lacks.

The sources that you employed above in hope of proving Gertrude’s good qualities are from Hamlet too you know. You would use those sources to back an argument and refuse others the right to use it against that argument? I can’t accept that. I see that Hamlet the king and the prince may be subjective in their accusations, but many of those accusations are objectively valid, as argued during the course of this post. Besides, the things of Gertrude’s that ‘dazzle’ you, however good they are, are still no justification for her lacks, which I think are severe. I do not condemn her completely, I don't even agree with Hamlet's declaration "Frailty, thy name is woman" in its original context; I recognise Gertrude's qualities as well as her flaws. But I wouldn’t go so far as comparing her to the Virgin Mary.

Regit
11-16-2007, 04:37 AM
Unknow_lady,
Don't forget the many references to the gods of Greek Mythology such as Hercules, Hyperion, and I am sure there are more if you look carefully. The main theme which is revenge might find itself more comfortable in a mythical setting, as many other themes, again, if you look carefully.

Gladys
11-21-2007, 09:01 PM
Besides, the things of Gertrude’s that ‘dazzle’ you, however good they are, are still no justification for her lacks, which I think are severe.
Yes, the ghost’s intimation of Gertrude’s ‘love for the Old Hamlet’ is questionable in so far as he flatters himself. In kowtowing to the ghost of his father, Hamlet deems his mother the guilty party, but relationships in marriage are knotty. He barely listens to his mother because reassessment of his relationship with his father might make revenge unthinkable. The men hold the reins in this world. We need not discount ‘the positive’ in what the ghost and Hamlet say of Gertrude, since they are hardly likely to flatter her. And understanding their bias, we are more wary of ‘the negative’.

At Elsinore, there is nothing but approval for Gertrude’s marriage to the newly elected king, apart from Hamlet and the ghost. Strangely, Hamlet is more upset about the remarriage of his mother than the murder of his father, and never finally decides to kill Claudius. Gertrude remarried at least a month after Old Hamlet’s death, assuming that Hamlet’s, "within a month…a little month" refers to the time between funeral and wedding. Remarrying soon after the death of a husband was less remarkable at a time when remarriage for peasants (and the spouse of a murdered king) ensured survival in a hard world. Were they all lacking in virtue?

Views on romantic love and respect for the dead vary widely even today and the play expresses several. Her husband having passed “through nature to eternity”, Gertrude shows virtue by living happily in the present, with fond memories. ‘Gertrude as a woman’ is superior, a tower of strength compared with her son, who, living in the past, seeks his “noble father in the dust”. Of course, I accept that Western culture has sympathy for him. This culture has fostered the sanctimonious virgin-whore dichotomy, the scriptural “Blessed are they that mourn”, romantic notions (‘truly in love’), and the idea of faithfulness to a departed spouse. I think Hamlet, an ambassador for the culture, fares poorly alongside sunny Gertrude.

Is Gertrude ‘devoid of human sentiment, of memory, even of logical deduction’ because she happily gets on with life without fuss? Must every widow palpably shoulder a notional sense of duty to a departed husband - ‘keep a promise to a dead person’ - a promise only ‘for as long as we both shall live’? Hamlet, the ghost, the Players, and some today are keen ‘to cast the first stone’. Bereaved Gertrude’s life is hers to live even though chauvinistic Hamlet and the ghost feel otherwise. Is a ghost virtuous? Glib moral judgments abound.

‘How can a personality be solely based on the present’? By ‘personality’, I mean the mode in which one prefers, and so is accustomed, to operate (science tells us two thirds of personality is determined genetically or in infancy). Gertrude prefers to live and let live rather than to mull over the past, to fret or introspect like deep Hamlet. A significant fraction of mankind (male and female) grows up using little intuition and introspection, if we are to believe personality-tests (such as the Myer-Briggs). Is there room here for blame?

I did not suggest that such women ‘have flawed personalities that can be considered a handicap’; rather that each sees the world differently. And in the ‘religious drama’ of the play, carping Hamlet would do well to ‘first cast out the beam out of [his] own eye’. It seems passing strange to decry Gertrude, whose only sin might be a nebulous lack of respect or reverence toward a dead husband. Aren’t the ongoing and heinous crimes of her accuser, the murderer Hamlet, sufficiently distracting?

mofwoofoo1
11-22-2007, 09:51 AM
Hello,
I would like to enter at this point as a new member. I am a lover of Shakespeare and especially his play, Hamlet.

"The main theme which is revenge might find itself more comfortable in a mythical setting, as many other themes, again, if you look carefully."

This comment is what interests me the most. The assumption that the theme is revenge is what I disagree with. I am baffled why more people don't see the theme that seems so obvious to me: The existential dilemma that the play poses which each human being must face usually by early adulthood, that is, the discovery that the government in which you live under is corrupt, as corrupt as Denmark, and then what do you do or not do about it? Its a bit like discovering that there is no Santa Clause only for adults.

I would be curious to know if there is any agreement or not with this idea. To me, Hamlet is not neurotic in the least, but symbolic of the highest aspects of man. He is a prince among men. And his behavior is of a noble order, logical, brave, and intelligent, at the same time intensely human.

Warmly,
Mofwoofoo
__________________

Jim58
11-22-2007, 08:13 PM
Superficially the play is about revenge, more precisely delayed revenge. I think this is largely because that is how Shakespeare had received the old Amleth legend. Within this framework is where Shakespeare actually applied his artistry.

I am going to disagree with your theme. Though, I think you are on to something. Hamlet is an adolescent facing the duplicity and reality of an adult world. I don't see existenialism or government as the issue. Claudius is the source and spread of ill in the play. Not because he is the government but because he is not the rightful heir to the throne. He is a usurper.

To follow that, the play is to deterministic for existentialism. Hamlet has a role he must fill, rough-hew it how he will. I think Hamlet's anguish comes from certain basic realizations such as virtue, honor and nobility are not innate. That life is a double edge sword. Ambition is both good and bad. The line between love and lust is not a clear one. Image can be reality.

I do agree with your assessment of Hamlet.

mofwoofoo1
11-23-2007, 01:33 AM
Thanks for your response. But I would appreciate how you might substantiate your claim that it is "deterministic". Since somehow you assume that an "existential" question couldn't be framed in a deterministic environment. In a play, characters are forever locked into a script, and there is a deterministic quality in that, but this being a condition of theatre, it must be overlooked. Things are clearly "out of joint" and need to be righted by someone. Hamlet is the most appropriate one to have to respond. He finds himself in a horrible situation where he must respond if he is a man. Denial could only lead to self-hatred. Life and death are the stakes as well as the kingdom of Denmark. We get the pleasure of watching how the most gifted acts in this crushing existential dilemma. Would we have not done the same, if it was us, instead of him? He is having to make tough decisions as he is swept along by events, by the deeds and actions of others. His difficulties, indecision, and pain is all too human. He dies like his father, thru the treachery of Claudius, but he takes everyone with him, and dies bravely. How it ends, is not how he intended, but as in real life, the situation was beyond his control.
Can you agree with this?

Gladys
11-23-2007, 04:27 AM
Claudius...is a usurper.
Wasn't Claudius, as the brother of the King, elected by the Danish ruling council according to tradition? His succession is both legal and popular (e.g. his praise for Polonius in Act I ii, 47-50). Nevertheless, Claudius has murdered his predecessor.


the play is too deterministic for existentialism
I agree. Hamlet objectively considers the complex and terrible life choices available to him. He does not go so far as to reflect on his reason for being, his second-by-second place in the cosmos, and the absurdities of living and dying. His decisions are not subjective, looking inward, with himself as the crucial subject. For all his heartache, he is without existential angst.

The ideas of the Dane, Soren Kierkegaard (the father of existentialism), were genuinely original in the 1840's.


He is a prince among men
I struggle to understand, considering Hamlet's behaviour towards Ophelia and Gertrude, and his various murders.

Jim58
11-24-2007, 10:00 PM
Thanks for your response. But I would appreciate how you might substantiate your claim that it is "deterministic". Since somehow you assume that an "existential" question couldn't be framed in a deterministic environment. In a play, characters are forever locked into a script, ...


I am not saying that determinism has Hamlet walking his required 4 hours on stage to his inevitable end. Hamlet recognizes in 5.2 that "there's a divinity that shapes our ends rough-hew them how we will." Hamlet's burden; his cross to bear is to set right the rule of Denmark. I don't think its fair to cite the strictness of the 4 corners of the script as a basis to dismiss the circumstances within the world of the play. I think they are two different things. Within the world of the play of course Hamlet is the one. That's the nature of determinism and the antithesis of existentialism.

I just think in a literary context existentialism carries the suggestion of existential material that either isn't present in the play or at the least is misinterpreted. Foremost is the revelation by Shakespeare of Hamlet's thoughts that from an existential standpoint can be misinterpreted as free will anxiety. If that is where you are heading I suppose I shouldn't jump the gun. Please feel free to expand your idea.

Jim58
11-24-2007, 10:13 PM
Wasn't Claudius, as the brother of the King, elected by the Danish ruling council according to tradition? His succession is both legal and popular (e.g. his praise for Polonius in Act I ii, 47-50). Nevertheless, Claudius has murdered his predecessor.

Claudius attained the throne not by election but by murder and incest. Henry IV was a usurper and so was Richard III. Claudius' ambition in killing the king doesn't mean that he can rule in the king's stead. Claudius' rule brings disease to Denmark that infects everyone starting with Gertrude. Illness, sickness and disease is one of the primary images in the play. All because of Claudius. I don't think its a coincidence that Henry IV and his disease found its way into Shakespeare's works.



I struggle to understand, considering Hamlet's behaviour towards Ophelia and Gertrude, and his various murders.

I think Hamlet's treatment of Ophelia and Gertrude and the killing of Polonius and R&G is a product of an adolescent mind.

Gladys
11-25-2007, 06:24 PM
Foremost is the revelation by Shakespeare of Hamlet's thoughts that from an existential standpoint can be misinterpreted as free will anxiety. If that is where you are heading...
Can you please explain?

Jim58
11-27-2007, 04:31 PM
I just don't think that Hamlet's "anxieties" make the play existential.

Regit
12-04-2007, 01:13 AM
This comment is what interests me the most. The assumption that the theme is revenge is what I disagree with.
The play has more than one theme. Revenge, in whatever level you may perceive it to be, is decidedly one of them.

Regit
12-04-2007, 04:01 AM
In kowtowing to the ghost of his father, Hamlet deems his mother the guilty party.
Not at all. He criticises her speedy marriage before he knew of the ghost.
Besides, he criticises her for her conduct, not her crime: "frailty, thy name is woman." This sentiment remains more or less the same after he finds out about his father's murder. Hamlet's sense of right and wrong is at least in this sense self-sufficient, not from kowtowing to anyone.



He barely listens to his mother because reassessment of his relationship with his father might make revenge unthinkable.
Again I disagree. Hamlet contemplates the morality of his revenge constantly; his uncertainty about the ghost, even about his father's authority is one of the main reasons why he procrastinates. Furthermore, it is not for the sake of maintaining his relationship with his father that Hamlet cannot accept Gertrude's conduct; it is because of the moral code by which he should live, no doubt influenced by social and genetic structuring, as you say, that he cannot accept it. Revenge and duty to his father are causes that come from principles, not motives that come from plotting.



The men hold the reins in this world. We need not discount ‘the positive’ in what the ghost and Hamlet say of Gertrude, since they are hardly likely to flatter her. And understanding their bias, we are more wary of ‘the negative’. Yes, they are biased. We can disregard all of their saying that is not facts. If they were the judges, this case is out of the window. But fortunately we have other codes of morality to judge by. And sexism really belongs in a different thread.



At Elsinore, there is nothing but approval for Gertrude’s marriage to the newly elected king, apart from Hamlet and the ghost. That is not verified. Horatio expresses his surprise at how quick the marriage is. The reason for lack of disapproval is because aside Hamlet no one else in Elsinore is really in the position to say anything (and even Hamlet has to reserve his sentiments to himself). And lack of disapproval does not mean approval. Any assessment as to the sentiment of Elsinore as a whole toward the marriage is a speculation, an invalid argument.



Gertrude remarried at least a month after Old Hamlet’s death, assuming that Hamlet’s, "within a month…a little month" refers to the time between funeral and wedding.
Yes, I think any reasonable interpretation of the speech would show quite clearly that this is indeed the case.



Remarrying soon after the death of a husband was less remarkable at a time when remarriage for peasants (and the spouse of a murdered king) ensured survival in a hard world. Were they all lacking in virtue? Yes, we have heard this argument. Peasants are different from royalties; different in circumstance, education, upbringing, responsibilities, and therefore obligations. Even among royalties, the cases vary, between people with a different sense of duty. Gertrude certainly would not have much trouble surviving without remarrying quickly. I think the more likely motive for her marriage is lust, or very light affection, if it can be so easily replaced. "Sunny" is a good state, sure, for the right time and the right place, as every other human emotional state.



‘Gertrude as a woman’ is superior, a tower of strength compared with her son, who, living in the past, seeks his “noble father in the dust”.

Her husband having passed “through nature to eternity”, Gertrude shows virtue by living happily in the present, with fond memories. Yes, that is certainly one interpretation. If Gertrude has real grief for the King as Hamlet does, then it must be that she is stronger than he. If their sorrows are equal, then she is superior, I concede. But that's not really it, is it? She grieves only as much as the other people, sporting the usual "trappings and suits of woe", and much less than Hamlet; and that's the reason why she doesn't have any urge to seek him anywhere at all. One cannot come to your conclusion by comparing the grief of two people with two different sentiments towards the dead. Unless you think that sorrow in itself is a weakness, grief in itself a human flaw. The "fond memories" that you mentioned finds its evidence in only one place, and in a most breezy manner. Perhaps it is more reasonable to think that Gertrude does not have any longing for the King, or have any fond memories of him, nor does she feel any duty towards him; and that is why she does with so little "fuss"?

"A tower of strength" is a phrase that describes better the overcoming of something very difficult, rather than the lack of difficulty. It doesn't belong in your sentence.



Of course, I accept that Western culture has sympathy for him. This culture has fostered the sanctimonious virgin-whore dichotomy, the scriptural “Blessed are they that mourn”, romantic notions "truly in love", and the idea of faithfulness to a departed spouse. I think Hamlet, an ambassador for the culture, fares poorly alongside sunny Gertrude. Surely, you're not suggesting that the Eastern and other cultures do not recognise the process of grief, or the idea of remaining obligated to the dead, the idea of the purity of a virgin, the idea of a whore? Well, I think they do at least match it. So if you accept that Western culture has sympathy for Hamlet's argument, then you must accept that pretty much every other culture does, especially in the time of the play.



Must every widow palpably shoulder a notional sense of duty to a departed husband - ‘keep a promise to a dead person’ - a promise only ‘for as long as we both shall live’? No indeed, they don't; not according to laws or doctrines, as I have already conceded. If they do, it is for their own human sentiments and/or sense or morality, nothing else. Rules, not morality is forced upon people.



Hamlet, the ghost, the Players, and some today are keen ‘to cast the first stone’. Bereaved Gertrude’s life is hers to live even though chauvinistic Hamlet and the ghost feel otherwise. Is a ghost virtuous? Glib moral judgments abound.

Aren’t the ongoing and heinous crimes of her accuser, the murderer Hamlet, sufficiently distracting? I never made a case otherwise concerning Hamlet and his father, I haven't sufficient thought here. Suffice to say that one has little to do with the other. I am making a case against Gertrude, which is neither strengthened or weakened by the conduct of accusers, if one has a code to measure against. Surely, the ethical code of the society in which the characters all live must be the objective rule. If you are arguing against that, then it is a different argument. But it must have independence to what I am arguing. Yes, the practice of peasants and spouses of kings, you say. It's a practice, and with necessity as its motive. But a code more consistently portrayed in this play is the sense of duty and more than emotional longing towards the dead: Hamlet to his father, to Yorick, Fortinbras to his father, Horatio to Hamlet, Ophelia to her father, Laertes to his father, Laertes to Ophelia, Hamlet to Ophelia, Hamlet to Gertrude, and so on. By that, in this play, Gertrude lacks.



‘How can a personality be solely based on the present’? By ‘personality’, I mean the mode in which one prefers, and so is accustomed, to operate (science tells us two thirds of personality is determined genetically or in infancy). Those are called choices. Personality covers more than the deliberate. But, letting it pass, are you saying that "the mode which one prefers to operate" depends solely on the present, without any regard for the past or the future? That sounds more and more like carelessness. That is no defence. Moreover, "infancy", surely, is the social influences of the past, as I have argued?



A significant fraction of mankind (male and female) grows up using little intuition and introspection, if we are to believe personality-tests (such as the Myer-Briggs). We are not. Those concepts may reflect different things in the tests than in the play. Let us employ the social framework of the play which has more weight on the character of Gertrude and the concepts in their general meanings.



It seems passing strange to decry Gertrude, Does it? I think it is reasonable to analyse her flaws since her conduct is the focus of the argument. You yourself made it so, and set the first standard with the Virgin Mary. And I set out to disagree with that, and must resolve to focus on her flaws. Like I said, I recognise many good qualities in Gertrude, I see many flaws in Hamlet and the ghost, and I am by no means sentencing her. But like you said:

...whose only sin might be a nebulous lack of respect or reverence toward a dead husband, and the only flaw I wished to condemn, the fact itself a signal of many other interpretations of sin.

Gladys
01-20-2008, 07:02 AM
I am making a case against Gertrude, which is neither strengthened or weakened by the conduct of accusers, if one has a code to measure against. Surely, the ethical code of the society in which the characters all live must be the objective rule. If you are arguing against that, then it is a different argument.

I am indeed arguing that the behaviour of the husband, her accuser, affects the duty of the wife. Applying rigid, simplistic moral codes to individuals is necessarily false: to quote Kierkegaard, ‘Subjectivity is truth’. It is impossible to stand in another’s shoes. Ethics should deal in complexities rather than simplifications. With scant information on Gertrude’s past, how are we to appreciate the intricacies of her ethical situation, and her hurried remarriage? Since we must simplify to judge, our judgment can only be wrong. At least, we should put the best construction on her actions.

In kowtowing to the ghost of his father, Hamlet deems his mother the guilty party. I mean, ‘deems…guilty’ only in the sense that Hamlet presumes his dead father remains worthy of conjugal respect. Although we know little of Old Hamlet’s past, some marriages are less than happy with adultery, wife-bashing, incest, paedophilia, and mental cruelty. Should an innocent Gertrude feign mourning?

He barely listens to his mother because reassessment of his relationship with his father might make revenge unthinkable. Is it right to avenge, and if so, to avenge a reprobate father? It’s a sad moral code that naively divorces ‘duty to father’ or ‘duty to husband’ from mutual obligation. A ‘moral code’, which appeals to precedent, to popular opinion, to the culture, to religion, tends to ignore real-world complexities. Hamlet may be deemed to act in ‘good conscience’ towards Ophelia, Polonius, R & G, and Gertrude, and yet be ethically bankrupt.

Remarrying soon after the death of a husband was less remarkable at a time when remarriage for peasants (and the spouse of a murdered king) ensured survival in a hard world. While conventional morality may disapprove of the hurried remarriage, some of us – and perhaps Shakespeare himself – understand that life is rarely as simple as church and state would portray.

Of course, I accept that Western culture has sympathy for him. Sunny Gertrude is ‘a tower of strength’ in that she is not slavishly beholden to cultural dogma, Western or otherwise. Her husband having died, she treats the living with respect and kindness. In my view, Shakespeare creates in Gertrude an ethically courageous woman.

How can a personality be solely based on the present? To live - to act justly - in the present is truly courageous. The words ‘solely based’ are Regit’s, not mine.

A significant fraction of mankind (male and female) grows up using little intuition and introspection, if we are to believe personality-tests… Shakespeare deals with the same human behaviour as do ‘personality tests’ and, it seems to me, great literature sometimes addresses human behaviour more competently than science. Let’s not limit and, by so doing, belittle the bard.

Having existentialist sympathies, I am inspired by Gertrude, acting authentically in the moment. Most of us are happy to escape spinelessly into the past or the future, or into a sterile morality governed by rule and regulation.

Any1there4me
07-20-2008, 04:57 PM
As clear as it has been made by others that Gertrude, whether or not justified, married a little too soon after the late Hamlet. One thing I haven't seen mentioned AT ALL is how Shakespeare satirizes the sanctity of marriage (link with religion bit, if anyone is confused--marriage is a huge event in any religion). In the play, "Marry" is used often as a light oath (referring to the Virgin Mary) or a way of saying "Indeed," but is that really all? Personally, I find that Shakespeare is mocking the sanctity of marriage.

Gertrude marries almost immediately after the death of late Hamlet, then the whole situation between Hamlet and Ophelia--whether there is mutual love and possible marriage. Claudius and Gertrude had been hoping to have Hamlet wed Ophelia, for they suspect that Hamlet loves her, just as Ophelia suspects; but then Hamlet denies his love for Ophelia. Then, later on after Ophelia's death, Hamlet states his love for her at her soon-to-be grave.

I can't think of anything more to add to this right now, but when I do, I'll try to continue on.

Gladys
07-20-2008, 07:54 PM
... on after Ophelia's death, Hamlet states his love for her at her soon-to-be grave Shouldn't his words, "I lov'd Ophelia", be understood in the earlier sense of, "I did love you once"?


In the play, "Marry" is used often as a light oath (referring to the Virgin Mary) or a way of saying "Indeed," but is that really all?An interesting conjecture but unlikely, I now think. The string "Marry," is used 12 times in Hamlet and 243 times in all his plays. In Hamlet, the string is rarely used in a context related to marriage.

byquist
08-03-2008, 08:17 PM
In his long monologue when he shouts "Vengeance!" at the end there, when he devises the "play" as a perfect test, he has the flash that maybe the "devil" is taking a shape to lead him to do some awful thing. He says, "I'll have grounds more relative than this." So apparently he was brought up to believe in an actual personified devil, sort of ala Job with the devil going "to and fro on the earth." Well, he saw a ghost, so that has an impact as well. He not only thinks about the invisible world, but also saw that world when his father appears, as did Horatio and the guards.