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Role of Gertrude in Hamlet


Raquel Tuohy Mrs. Pastor AP Lit/Comp 7 April 2013 Hamlet Maybe one of the most uncertain characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the queen, Gertrude. She is Hamlet’s mom and the spouse of her dead spouse’s bro, King Claudius.

As the reader, we only see her briefly, however she still manages to be a main figure in Hamlet playing the role of the evasive and sometimes shallow queen. There are several concerns surround the life of Queen Gertrude, starting with even prior to the play, having to do with the death of her other half, Hamlet’s father.

When the play starts, she has actually currently remarried to Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius within such a short amount of time. This is rather surprising and revolting to her son Hamlet, who is still grieving over the loss of his daddy, however it appears that his mom has actually already carried on. That could just suggest that perhaps Gertrude was cheating on the king with her sibling and her husband’s death was all however hassle-free for her. The ghost of Hamlet’s father offers his child disturbing info about the queen, calling her “that incestuous, that adulterate beast,” (Act I, Scene I).

Nevertheless, there is no definitive proof, nor Shakespeare ever addresses it in the play, leaving his audience with a sense of wonder about the queen’s dedication to her partner. The thing that may interest the reader the most about the character of Gertrude is why she wed Claudius so all of a sudden after her other half’s death. Was it since she knew that she needed a guy to help her rule? Or was the meaning behind the courtship less malevolent than it appears? There lies the most essential question: was it true love or was it politics that brought Claudius and Gertrude together?

Hamlet paints the picture of Gertrude as an obedient and dedicated woman to his dad, however his viewpoint transforms during the queen’s second marriage. Hamlet doesn’t understand why Gertrude, who is identified as the “th’imperial jointress” (Act I, Scene I) to the throne of Denmark, would need to marry somebody so quickly when she currently wields power in the royal family. Potentially the most haunting concern about Gertrude’s character is whether she knows Claudius killed her first partner. This likewise ties in with the question about Gertrude’s fidelity.

If she did cheat on the previous king with Claudius than possibilities are she more than likely had a function in her first hubby’s death. Claudius would consider her as an accomplice and confide in her, however he never ever does throughout Hamlet. Additionally, Gertrude expresses strong feelings about Ophelia and Hamlet, but never for Claudius, which is strange since they are married. Claudius tells Gertrude that he loves her, but she does not return the sentiment, which once again is bizarre because they are husband and wife.

There are no definitive textual recommendations about Gertrude’s involvement in her first partner’s poisoning. It just is another component of Gertrude’s character that is shrouded in secret. One redeeming quality about the queen is her steadfast loyalty to Hamlet. She loves her kid in spite of his apparent hostility towards her for weding Claudius. Plus, Gertrude continues to support him even when he lashes out at her, stating the even worse possible things a kid could state to his mother.

When Hamlet kills Polonius in a minute of insanity, Gertrude realizes that she needs to inform the king that her boy was the one who committed the murder, but she lies to her hubby to secure her child. She tells Claudius that Hamlet is contrite and “weeps for what he has done” (Act IV, Scene I), in order to decrease the punishment that is sure to be caused on Hamlet by Claudius. In the last scene of the play, Gertrude expresses her deep concern for Hamlet when he wishes to duel Laertes who is grieving over the loss of his father and sis and blames Hamlet for their deaths.

At the end of the duel, Gertrude even drinks the wine for Hamlet, not knowing it is packed with toxin. Or does she? It is still disputed by scholars whether Gertrude understood the white wine was harmful or not, however regardless, she didn’t need to drink it. She drank it for Hamlet because her maternal instincts triumphed over Claudius’ caution to leave the harmful glass of white wine alone. Another problem that comes up time in time once again in Shakespeare’s play is Hamlet’s fascination, boarding on obsession, with Gertrude’s sex life. It’s trange for a boy to be interested in what his mom does behind closed doors, but this stimulated interest seemed to have actually begun around the time of Gertrude’s second marital relationship to Claudius. Early on in the play, the reader discovers that Hamlet is shaken by his mom’s hasty marital relationship to Claudius, leading Hamlet to think that the world is infected, like an “unweeded garden” that’s “gross and rank in nature” (Act I, Scene 2). Hamlet’s opinion of his mom may color the reader’s view of Gertrude, seeing her as a repellent female who leaps from one man to the next.

There are more concerns than answers surrounding Gertrude, the queen of Denmark. We don’t know if she was unfaithful or if she was complicit with Claudius in the murder of her very first hubby. However, the one attribute in Gertrude that nobody can challenge is the depth of love that she posses for her kid. Gertrude is Shakespeare’s the majority of mystical character since she in elaborately woven throughout the play, but her intentions remain unclear to the readers.

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