Queen Gertrude is the wife of the late King Hamlet and the mother of their son Hamlet; she is a simple yet important character in a play called Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Gertrude finds herself in a dilemma after the sudden death of her husband King Hamlet. She hastily decides to marry the former king's brother Claudius. Hamlet becomes incredibly angry over this state of affairs, but, rather than halt her engagement Gertrude continues on. The queen requests that Hamlet stays in the kingdom rather return to his studies. She must continue to make attempts to cover up Hamlet's behavior, which eventually cause her death at the end.
The first evident occurrence of ambiguity in the play is whether or not Gertrude knows that Claudius murdered Hamlet Sr. During her discussion with Hamlet, there is no clear evidence to prove that she did or did not know. Gertrude appears to be very heartbroken by the information being relayed to her by Hamlet as she explains that “[the] words like daggers enter in [her] ears” (3.4.98), and “turn’st [her] eyes into [her] very soul” (3.4.91). Gertrude 's reaction to the news leaves undeniable room for questions as she could be feeling this guilt because she does know what Claudius did, or because she has been blinded by Claudius’ charm and married him after all he had done to his own family. The answer is left completely to the reader 's interpretation. In continuance, when Gertrude confides in Claudius about what she had spoken to Hamlet about, it is unclear if she truly believes he is as “mad as the sea and wind when both contend” (4.1.7), or if she is simply obeying her sons wishes. She does not have any soliloquies or side comments that could help the readers to interpret her inner thoughts. Therefore, it is absolutely an ambiguous situation as there is no evidence to thoroughly support either of the possible thoughts she could have. Finally, readers are left with questions and curiosities in regards to Gertrude 's true reason
Gertrude’s blindness to the whole situation is sickening. How she marries the brother of her former husband right after he kills him and never knows the truth is beyond me. She never cared about how her son felt before or after she married Claudius. She didn’t even wait very long after her husband died to get married again ( I; ii; 180-181. "Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables".). Therefore she is either a very slow, naïve woman or a very evil, coldhearted one. For someone to side with a person even after their own son has told them that the person they’re with has murdered their former lover is absolute lunacy ( III; iv; 29-30. "A bloody deed- almost as bad, good mother, as kill a king, and marry his brother".). Not knowing the truth in the first place is one thing, but turning your back on your own flesh and blood is another. Therefore without his mother on his side, Hamlet has lost all the family in his life that could have helped him get through his terrible time and he sinks lower than ever before.
There is a scene in which the actor illustrating the late king is laying in a garden to rest. An evil relative to the king confronts the sleeping man, and pours poison into his ear (III. ii. 260-275). It was at this point that Claudius snaps, knowing that his nephew knows the truth behind his acts. Gertrude tried to calm him by asking him if he felt ill, but it was to no avail; Claudius cuts the play short, indirectly confessing to the audience that he indeed murdered the late King Hamlet. However, Gertrude still remains calm and undetected by Hamlet; he thinks of her as a harlot, but not that of a murderer. At least, that is what she thinks.
...est for him, yet she does not know what is in the best interests of those around her and she does not seek out the opinions of others before making decisions. I can relate to Gertrude’s flaw because I, too, often forget that I do not always know best. I forget that often times people need time and to be left alone; that some things will not get better overnight and there is nothing I can do to fix the issues but wait. If Gertrude had been more patient with the issues in her life, such as should she give hamlet the throne after her husband’s death, she might have done things differently. Yet, Gertrude was a “fixer” who wanted fast solutions to long term problems, and she believed that she knew best, even when she did not. This caused her to make bad decisions throughout the course of the play. Her flaws are what make her relatable, as well as what makes her human.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet, shows strong prejudice against woman especially with such characters of Ophelia and Gertrude. Shakespeare created an interesting character with Gertrude; he created a character that sits in the middle of all the conflict and appears to not partake in much of it. However Gertrude does seem intent in defusing it at every possible chance she receives. Gertrude is a central figure in the play. She appears a great deal but doesn’t say much – implying mystery and creating an interesting uncertainty in the audience. Hamlet spends a lot of time dwelling on her marriage to Claudius and Shakespeare leaves many questions unanswered with Gertrude such as did she have an affair with Claudius behind old hamlets back? Why does she drink the poisoned wine that is intended for her son? Does she know it is poisoned? Gertrude is the mother of Hamlet and although they do not have a typical mother son relationship she does love him. Queen Gertrude is often interpreted by many as an adulterate, incestuous woman. Catherine Belsey states that typical interpretations of Hamlet maintain: ‘Gertrude a slut; and Shakespeare a patriarchal bard’ (Belsey,1997:34). Gertrude’s actions throughout the play could be read to show her to be a very passive character, far from a strong independent woman. This is shown with her obedience to Claudius, three times during the play, Gertrude is told to leave and each times she complies without hesitation. In Act 1, scene 2 Claudius says to Gertrude, ‘Madam, come’ (122). Then again, Act 3, scene 1, Claudius says to her, ‘Sweet Gertrude, leave us .’ (28), she complies with ; ‘I shall obey you’ (37). And finally, in Act 4, scene 1, Claudius say, ‘O Gertrude, come away!’ (28). This obedience that Gertrude ...
After the death of Old Hamlet and Gertrude’s remarriage to Claudius, Hamlet feels extremely angry and bitter. “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!” (1.2.133-134). Due to the death of his father, he is already in a state of despair and the lack of sympathy that his mother has towards his sorrow does not aid him in recovering from this stage of grief. “Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted colour off, / And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark” (1.2.68-69). Hamlet is struggling to accept the fashion in which Gertrude is responding to the death of Old Hamlet; she seems quite content with her new life with Claudius, which is a difficult concept for him to accept as after the d...
With Gertrude, Hamlet would also like to express his anger towards her, as well as possibly kill her or make her go insane, without arising suspicion in others that he is not insane. In addition, he would like to confront Gertrude with the grounds of Claudius' crime, without her thinking that he actually believes in them, so that she might somehow think about them and realize that Claudius is guilty. Now, she will no longer love Claudius and she will not believe that Hamlet thinks that Claudius is guilty. If she believes this, she might pass on this fact to others, leading to Hamlet's downfall. Also, Hamlet does not want to confront Gertrude with the crime in a sane condition, which then will be forcing her to make a difficult choice between Hamlet and Claudius, with disastrous psychological results for Hamlet if she chooses against him.
While Hamlet is speaking to Gertrude she tells him “O Hamlet, speak no more!” (pg 175) and “These words like daggers enter in my ear” (pg 177). They both really stress just how powerful speech is. When Gertrude says these things to Hamlet it is like telling him not to be who he is because speech is like everything for Hamlet. Speech is the way Hamlet expresses himself and it also is a huge part of why people see him as crazy. These words are making Gertrude feel a little crazy just as it happened to Ophelia after the news of Polonius ' death and Hamlet supposedly “acting” crazy. No one knows for sure if Hamlet is actually insane but the way he phrases his sentences cause people to believe he is insane. At times when Hamlet is speaking about his belief that Claudius killed his father Gertrude may want to believe that he is crazy. She has convinced herself that Hamlet is crazy in order to make herself feel better. She may feel like a terrible person for marrying Claudius if this was true and so she does not want to believe it. Although Gertrude does not show much grief when she heard about Hamlet’s opinion on Claudius it may be because she is having a hard time accepting
The only thing left to make Gertrude unhappy is Hamlet’s refusal to forget the death of his father or to forgive her for remarrying so quickly. In order for her to completely bury the past, she must convince Hamlet to accept her new marriage and forget his father’s death.