Gertrudes Suicide

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Gertrude’s Suicide?

In the Shakespearean tragedy "Hamlet," Prince Hamlet’s mother Gertrude encounters many misfortunes, which she feels that she is to blame for. Gertrude was brought into the middle of everybody’s dilemmas and thus felt responsible for the occurrences that happened to all of the significant characters throughout the play. She allows her emotions to build up in an unhealthy manner and this leads to her eventual death. The question that surrounds her death is whether she committed suicide or led a natural demise?

This is an unknown fact because on the night of her death she drank a poisoned cup of wine which was meant for Hamlet. However there was a possibility that Gertrude knew that the wine had deadly toxins in it. Although there is no definite guarantee that she committed suicide, the evidence is overwhelming that she knew that the wine was tainted.

Prior to the opening of the drama, Gertrude was having an incestuous affair with her husbands brother, Claudius. Claudius then killed his brother (King Hamlet), and shortly after married Gertrude. Prince Hamlet could not handle this and was disgusted by the entire situation. He then decided to put on an "Antic Disposition," meaning that he will pretend to be crazy in order to find out the details of what is going on. Gertrude observes that Hamlet is not his usual self, and she feels responsible because her remarriage is so soon after her old husbands death. This makes Gertrude feel absolutely terrible and could be a possible justification for suicide.

The Chief Counselor of Denmark, Polonius and his family, play a big role in determining the motivation of a possible suicide. Hamlet was in the midst of avenging his fathers death, to kill Claudius. He was having a conversation with his mom when he heard someone in the room spying on them. Thinking it was Claudius, he drew his sword and stabbed though the curtain where the impostor was in concealment. It turned out to be Polonius, who was now dead, and again Gertrude couldn’t help but feel accountable. Polonius’ daughter Ophelia was affected dramatically by his death. She was romantically involved with Hamlet, and couldn’t handle the fact that her boyfriend murdered her father. This destroyed Ophelia’s character and led to her suicide. Polonius’ son Laertes, had now lost his entire family and wanted to get revenge by assassinating Hamlet. Laertes was having a meeting with Claudius and they were planning the details of how to kill Hamlet.
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