Post by F.
I'm trying to figure out if Claudius genuinly loved Gertrude or merely
took her as queen to satisfy his ambition (amongst other things).
I'd argue he did love her, as he says that he is still affected by his
desire for the crown, ambition and queen.
Many other opinions say that he is merely using, seducing her.
What is your take?
Using her why? What does he get out of it if he's not in love with her?
It's hard to see why he married her otherwise, and in a manner so likely to
startle social proprieties. He had very little to gain. Unless (which is
true in the ancient source material, but Shakespeare probably did not know
this) Gertrude is in fact the sovereign Queen, and the new king MUST marry
her to get the throne.
Exactly how deep his passion goes, as it becomes increasingly clear that
Hamlet's survival is dangerous to his own, is hard to say. Not quite far
enough to sacrifice himself for her. But her existence, which is part of the
impediment to Hamlet's taking instant revenge on Claudius is also an
impediment to Claudius being able openly to act against Hamlet. (This makes
for an interesting chess problem, eh?) Clearly he is not ready to ignore her
strong feelings, and since this is not, in the play, a matriarchal monarchy,
his love of her must be the cause of that.
I have always assumed that Hamlet's comparison of his father and his uncle
in the Queen's bedroom scene is special pleading. In fact the two brothers
are not so very different, and Gertrude, a practical and perspicuous woman
(as all her speeches make clear), clearly can't tell them apart. (In the
source myth, they were twins. In the related tale of King Arthur's birth,
one magically assumed the other's form in order to seduce the other's wife.)
Jean Coeur de Lapin