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Conflict In Gertrude Essay

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Whitney 1
Gregory Whitney
Mrs. Kittredge
H Eng. 10
2/19/14
Queen Gertrude is the Center of Conflict
One of the most important characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet would be the mother of Hamlet himself, Gertrude. Queen Gertrude played a terrible and devious part, which left many wondering the solidity of her honor and dignity. She led a life of prestige and luxury, but could not find happiness in either. Gertrude is the cause of conflict in Hamlet because in her quest for happiness, she married her brother-in-law shortly after her husband’s death, she was a driving force for the murder the King, and she is the motivation for much of Hamlet’s rash actions.
Gertrude had to put someone back in her life by quickly leaving the man she one loved, King Hamlet, for his brother, Claudius. In the play it is learned that Gertrude is quite dependent on the men in her lives. When her husband died, she quickly moved on to Claudius to fill the void. She thought only of herself and of no one else. Both Hamlet and the ghost King condemn the relationship and marriage between Claudius and Gertrude as “incestuous” (Act 1, Sc. 2, line 157; Act 1, Sc. 5, line 42). This is taken from the Bible. Within the bible it says, “If a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing; he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.” (Leviticus 20:21) It is meant to halt all affiliation in the wife and the brother of the former husband. As Claudius says: “Therefore our sometime sister, now our queens … have we …taken to wife.” Claudius was essentially marrying his sister when he married

Whitney 2
Gertrude. To the people of this time, who were devout Christians, this claim of incest was not faded law. It affected their lives, the throne ...

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... down and all of his hatred and grief are let loose as he stabs Claudius poisoned rapier and then forces him to drink the poison, crying "Here, thou incestuous murd'rous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother!"(Act 5, Sc. 2, lines 345-347).
While Queen Gertrude may have seemed like a side character with no major involvement within the play, she is truly the center of conflict within the play. She married her brother-in-law after her husband mysteriously died, setting off the entire chain of events within the play. She is one of the driving forces, among other things, for Claudius to go out and murder his brother. Finally, she was the main motivator for many of Hamlet’s rash and dangerous actions. Gertrude, whether on purpose or unintentionally, creates and grows conflicts and challenges, making her the source of conflict in the play
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