Class Clips is changing
We will be introducing the new Knowledge and Learning Beta website over the coming months. Clips for use in the classroom are now available on your phone, tablet or PC.

Alternatively, you can still browse or search by keyword or clip number on this site.

CLIP 8713

Hamlet: the mother and son relationship

Hamlet: the mother and son relationship

Did you know?

All Class Clips content is available to watch on mobile, tablet and desktop devices on our new Knowledge & Learning BETA website.

Key Info
  • Hamlet: the mother and son relationship
  • Duration: 05:38
  • Actors Penny Downie and David Tennant discuss the 'closet scene' in 'Hamlet'. The actors consider what is revealed about the background to the mother/son relationship and the emotional implications. Downie considers the emotional demands and dangers of the scene. She also gives an insight into the physical experience of embodying this exhausting role. David Tennant suggests that his Hamlet does not suffer from any 'Oedipus complex'. Rather he does not want to think about his mother in any sexual terms and is therefore repulsed by her liaison with Claudius. Features extracts from the televised version of the 2008 RSC production of 'Hamlet'.
  • Subject:



    Explorative Strategies

  • Keywords: Oedipus, Sophocles, Freud, naturalism, William Shakespeare, Penny Downie, David Tennant, RSC, Royal Shakespeare Company, HamletDrama
Ideas for use in class
  • Scope for much discussion on the interpretation of 'Hamlet', Gertrude and their relationship. Debate could focus on the grounds for Hamlet's rage and brutality in this scene. To what extent is Gertrude deserving of his vilification? A closer look at the moments of tenderness might also be valid. The demands on actors in such physical and emotional scenes are also well illustrated and may stimulate further investigation. Improvise scenes between the pair before Old Hamlet died – perhaps going through Hamlet's childhood from youngster to teenager to young man. How might this help the emotional action of the 'Closet Scene'? Find further resources at:
Background details
  • Clip language : English
  • Aspect ratio : 16x9

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.