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Written by Line
(5/26/2003 9:38 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Another (legal) side of Gertrude, Claudius and the King., penned by Caroline
] The old king dies, and Gert, as widow, has by law forty days to choose her "dower", i.e. the manor/land in which to spend her widowhood, before handing over the rest of Old Hamlet's posessions to Young Hamlet. Is Claudius to stand by and watch this happen? Not on your nelly! He moves, and quickly. He gets elected king, probably on the grounds of being a decent strong- man, and as sort-of-regent for Hamlet. That means Gert cannot be regent, even if she wanted to be. He also marries Gert...which negates her widowhood, and as we all know from understandng inheritance in JA, takes control of all of the Hamlet family posessions. So... Gert no longer has a dower. Young Hamlet has nothing to inherit. And, by making Gert "co-jointress" in ownership with himself, after their deaths, it is G&C's children that will inherit castle and lands, not Hamlet.
I don't think it's quite as bad as that (though it's plenty bad enough!). Isn't Hamlet supposed to be around thirty years old? Even if he's twenty, the chances of Gertrude having more children is small, and Claudius actually announces in front of the whole court that he considers Hamlet to be next in line to the throne. Though that may be mostly public relations, I also think that as long as he had no children of his own, Claudius wouldn't mind too much having Hamlet succeed him after his death, just as long as *he* got to be king *now*.
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