i K R it’s SO FUCKIN WEIRD
i mean i think it’s like 75% a problem of various productions— i don’t think any productions really address the fact that, y’know, claudius and king hamlet were brothers (except the lion king, which does it, uh, fairly well)
but even claudius is all, like
But you must know, your father lost a father,
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow; but to persevere
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; ‘tis unmanly grief;
when he could absolutely say, like, “yeah! i also lost a family member! and y’know hamlet i have done my crying and now i am bangin’ your mom like a Real Man”
except um hopefully he would say it in a more poetic way.
it’s funny, bc the only one who really talks about any of hamlet sr.’s relationships with anybody is hamlet. i can’t do the verification rn, but i’m pretty sure hamlet is the only one who ever really talks about his father beyond a line or two— which is the whole idea, right?
claudius and gertrude’s non-mourning isn’t just a refusal to be sad, it’s a refusal to acknowledge hamlet sr.’s existence. hamlet’s not just isolated bc he’s grieving, he’s isolated bc there’s an entire part of his life and self that’s vanished into thin air, and no one will acknowledge that it was even there.
the play-within-a-play isn’t just “oh is claudius guilty or not” for hamlet, it’s a way for him to say my father was real, his marriage was real, he lived, he died, look! it happened!, it’s a way for hamlet to revive him and just for a few minutes live in a world where he’s alive again
and then, y’know, he dies. even in fiction within fiction he dies. even stories can’t keep him alive, because words are useless and language is useless, and the story ends and all hamlet has is ghosts and imagination, because not until in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain is hamlet capable of understanding that keeping people from dying is not the point of stories.
so i guess there’s your answer, anon. claudius doesn’t seem to have a relationship with hamlet sr. because to claudius, hamlet sr. isn’t real. not until he’s forced to be.