Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts—
O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce!—won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.
O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine.
But virtue, as it never will be moved,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven,
So, lust, though to a radiant angel linked,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
Like Hamlet, the ghost dwells on Gertrude's "seeming" virtue. But is the ghost saying Gertrude cheated on him when they were married? Or, does the ghost merely see her remarriage as a betrayal? We get stuck on the meaning of "adulterate," which, in Elizabethan England could refer to a cheating spouse or any sexual sin in general (like incest). Either way, the ghost implies that Gertrude's remarriage retroactively makes their marriage into a sham.