Hamlet never stops loving his mother. In his own words he is “cruel only to be kind”. He views Gertrude as a woman who is blinded by her lust for Claudius. Acting on the assumption his mother is completely ignorant of Claudius’ deceitfulness, he seeks to protect her as well as can be done. To the young prince, nothing in life is more sinful than the incestuous marriage of his uncle and mother. Just like captain planet fanatically shields the environment from harm; Hamlet goes out of his way to absolve his mother from sin and protect her from what he sees as an unnatural union.
Gertrude sees life as something that is ever evolving and changing, and she able to move on from loss. She advises hamlet to do the same and “cast thy knighted color off” to become free of the grief of the loss of his father. She hoped her son would find love with Ophelia that would replace the hole in his heart left by the death of his father. The prince; blinded by his Oedipus complex, is unable to see that there are still people on this earth who care for him. Only the love of his parents rang true to hamlet. Both of which he lost, one to murder, and one to an incestuous marriage.
Leaving him to feel as though he had been robbed of all he had in life. The notion that Gertrude may have played a part in the murder of the king never occurs to Hamlet. He never considers that the marriage may have been one of convince and not the product of his mother’s grieving and lust. Should Gertrude have declined the marriage, Claudius would have taken a different wife, a younger woman who would bear him children. Leaving hamlet no chance to ever rise to the throne of Denmark, and leaving his mother out of power as well.
Ironically because he so condemns his mother’s incest, hamlet is attracted to his mother enough to never question her role in the murder of his father. It is interesting to notice in act 3 scene 4 after the murder of Polonius, the ghost of king hamlet chooses to appear to hamlet but not the woman he married. Maybe this indicates the ghost holds the knowledge of Gertrude’s role in his death. Or perhaps the ghost has no desire to speak to his wife after witnessing her gross new marriage.
Although the ghost has hamlet comfort his mother, saying “Oh step between her and her fighting soul. ” which feels very different from the thoughts the ghost expressed about his former wife earlier in the show, calling her a “adulteress” whom heaven would judge, but not Hamlet. Hamlet hates that Claudius is living out his sick fantasy of being with Gertrude; he doesn’t hate his mother. He sees this incestuous marriage as something that can be done away with, and is nowhere near as permanent as the death of his father.
Should hamlet have had no love for his mother, he would have killed her, not offered her redemption. In return Gertrude does not seem to ever lose compassion for hamlet. After his fit of childlike rage resulting in the death of Polonius, she still has the patience and forgiveness to protect hamlet from persecution by the king. She was the first one to notice his “madness” and put effort into understanding what ails him. When Laertes is set to duel hamlet, his mother seems genuinely concerned for his safely, indicating that she most likely was oblivious of Claudius’s plot.
It’s interesting to consider the very polarizing differences between the two characters and how they work to be each other’s foil so well. Hamlet is a thinker, a man who seeks to understand all that he can about this life and the next. He claims to not pay any mind to this “mortal coil”, yet ironically desires nothing more in life than petty vengeance. Gertrude is an airhead, paying little mind to the concepts that so resonate in her son’s mind. She enjoys the high life, the luxuries of royal living, and the attention of men.
While the theory that he aided in the murder of king hamlet is plausible, her lack of reaction to the play put on in act 3 scene 2 and general dim witted but kindhearted nature leads the audience to believe it is not so. Only after Hamlet spoke to her did she realize the incestuous marriage was wrong and has been bothering hamlet, and pleaded him very genuinely for forgivingness. Innocent by ignorance, hamlet later came to view his mother as the only party absolved of sin. This is why he reacted so harshly to her death in act 5 scene 2.
He rushes to her side, Hamlet had previously been presented with multiple opportunities to take revenge for his father’s murder, but always found a logical reason why waiting to exact vengeance would be better. After losing his mother, nothing stopped hamlet from killing the man who had taken so much from him. King hamlet’s murder made hamlet cynical and crazed, but his mother’s death made him willing to intentionally act out in violence, proof of his love and devotion to her.