Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Impressions of Hamlet, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. Hamlet 1.1-1.3

     The reader is first introduced to King Claudius in Act 1, scene 2. He expresses his grief for the late King Hamlet. In this monologue King Claudius seems genuine, but as the scene continues, his grief and sorrow for his brother’s death can be seen as an act. When Hamlet expresses his extreme grief and annoyance that his mother does not take part in this grief, King Claudius tells Hamlet to move on from his sorrow: “But to persever/ In obstinate condolement is a course/ Of impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief” (1.2.96-8). Claudius says it is a natural course to lose a father and that Hamlet should not continue to grieve. He says grieving at this point is stubborn and unmanly. King Claudius is unsympathetic towards Hamlet. He wants Hamlet to forget the death of his father so that the new King can move on with his rule of Denmark. Also, King Claudius refuses to allow Hamlet to go to the university in Wittenberg. Not only is he unsympathetic towards Hamlet, but also he does not allow Hamlet to fitful his wishes because Claudius wants to keep a watch over him. King Claudius is afraid Hamlet will ruin his reign as king. He wants to keep a close watch over Hamlet and ensure Hamlet does wreck his position in power. 
            Queen Gertrude is completely behind her new husband. She marries her late husband’s brother in less than a month. She moved on quickly from the death of her husband and wants Hamlet to follow suit: “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,/ Passing through nature to eternity” (1.2.74-5). She wants Hamlet to forget about his father’s death because it was the natural course of life. Like her new husband, she is unsympathetic towards Hamlet’s grief. She seems oblivious and unconcerned of the death of her husband and her new marriage. She evens appears somewhat unemotional in this scene.
            When the reader first meets Hamlet in Act 1 Scene 2, he appears suspicious and resentful towards his new father. Hamlet is uncomfortable with the marriage of his mother and his uncle. He states the relationship as unnatural: “A little more than kin and less than kind” (1.2.67). He believes their relationship, now as father and son, is twisted. He has not yet comes to terms with his late father’s death and the idea that his uncle is now his new father.
In Hamlet’s aside he expresses anger towards his mother for marrying too fast. She married him when King Hamlet was “But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two” (1.2.142). He is angry that she did not grieve and that she married his uncle. Hamlet also believes that his father was “So excellent a king” (1.2.143). He is in despair with his new life. He despises that his uncle is the new king and his new father. Hamlet seems to have the only reaction to this situation. He responds with anger and confusion to his mother marrying his uncle less than two months after his father’s death while Queen Gertrude and King Claudius act like nothing is wrong. Hamlet does not playing along with this strange logic. He shows that this is unnatural. Also, he is angry because none of his family expresses grief of King Hamlet that he is experiencing.  

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