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Hamlet and Gertrude's Relationship

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Hamlet by William Shakespeare focuses on the title character plotting vengeance against Claudius for his father's murder to capture the Danish crown. The new king is also Hamlet's uncle and now stepdad due to the marriage with his mother, Gertrude. Through a sequence of events, the protagonist eventually avenges his father, although both his mother and himself fall to a tragic fate as well. Throughout the course of the play, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude changes from strained to a disrespectful and mistrustful to a bittersweet ending.

The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is strained at first. From the beginning of the play to act III, Hamlet is bitter with his mother. He feels this way because it has been less than four months since the death of his biological father, yet she is already remarried to Claudius. He feels his father is being betrayed from her lack of mourning. She tells her son to "cast thy nighted color off" (I.ii.68) and "all that lives must die" (I.ii.72). Clearly, she isn't grieving over her late husband's death and instead puts forth an optimistic attitude to her new husband and life. Gertrude's concern with Hamlet's odd behaviour after his encounter with Ophelia in act II scene i also shows the strain in their relationship. For example, she agrees with Claudius' words that "of Hamlet's transformation" (II.ii.5) and suggests Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy and find out the underlying cause of her son's problems. In addition to that, she consents Polonius to hide behind the tapestry in act III scene iv without Hamlet knowing. These two decisions suggest their inability to communicate. Instead, spying is required for Gertrude to find out about her son's inner mentality. The mother and ...

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... mother all along. Unluckily, both are unable to savour the moment. Overall, the mother and son relationship change throughout the play.

In conclusion, Hamlet and Gertrude's relationship change from strained to disrespectful and mistrustful and end in a bittersweet manner. In the beginning, Hamlet is bitter at her mother for her betrayal to the late King Hamlet. The need for Gertrude to send spies to find out her son's mentally shows further strain in the relationship. In act III scene iv, he shows Gertrude disrespect by threatening her and insulting her. On the mother's part, she mistrusts her son and thinks he's treacherous and insane. Finally, in act V scene v, the mother realizes that her son is right all along and calls out to him with love before she dies. Unfortunately, throughout the loops and turns, the sweet moment does not last as both fall to death.
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