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Love Through The Ages | Hamlet

Ruth Owen | Wednesday October 12, 2011



Guide Navigation

  1. Studying For The Exam
  2. Examples From Literature
  3. About The Exam
  4. Further Reading
  5. The Examination
  6. Symptoms of Love, Graves
  7. On Chesil Beach
  8. The First Tooth, Lamb
  9. The Deserter
  10. The Soldier, Brooke
  11. A Lady of Letters
  12. Sonnet 130, Shakespeare
  13. Measure for Measure
  14. Othello
  15. King Lear
  16. Equus
  17. Great Expectations
  18. Enduring Love
  19. Mid-Term Break, Heaney
  20. Your Last Drive
  21. The Going
  22. The Waste Land, Elliot


William Shakespeare 1564-1616

In the play, Hamlet, the protagonist, Prince Hamlet’s, anger towards his mother – too suddenly and recently married, he believes, to his uncle, now King Claudius, following the death of his father – spills out in the famous ‘bedroom scene’ where Hamlet confronts and berates his mother. This time we have mother and son, not father and daughter as in King Lear. This extract is taken from Act 3 scene 4.


Now, mother, what’s the matter?


Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended


Mother, you have my father much offended


Come come you answer with an idle tongue


Go go you answer with a wicked tongue.


Have you forgot me?


No, by the rood, not so:

You are the queen your husband’s brother’s wife;  And – would it were not so – you are my mother.’

Hamlet, without sparing his mother’s feelings, proceeds to condemn her yet further. When she asks what she has done, his reply is vitriolic.


Such an act
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty
Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love
And sets a blister there, makes marriage vows
As false as dicers’ oaths.

Hamlet compares the two brothers.


Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow.
Hyperion’s curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command
A combination and a form indeed

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