Problematic Gertrude

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In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Gertrude is a woman who is also a queen that harms no one but the terrible comprehension to the situation at hand greatly affect the outcome of events. Out of the two female characters in Hamlet, Gertrude and Ophelia, are not self-confident. The actions of Gertrude will indefinitely lead up to the demise of her and some other characters in the play.

The readers first see that in Act 1, Scene 2 the poor judgment of her character is her biggest flaw. A regular mother to a grieving child should know that a child needs their mother to get pass this terrible event and Gertrude does not notice how insensitive she is being to Hamlet. She should of known that remarrying so quickly to the dead man's brother would embarrass Hamlet because it is considered to be incestuous to marry the immediate family of the dead. Then there is Hamlet's jealousy to consider as he is going to want the attention of his mother more than ever.

Gertrude isn't on par with what her son is feeling to see why he would be angry at the current situation. He expresses this thought with his first soliloquy:

O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! (I.ii 156-157)

Gertrude is seen as a loving mother, yet she can't tell how her own son is feeling towards the entire situation. She also tells Hamlet that "it is common for all men to die", however this person that has died isn't a "common" man but he is Hamlet's own father. So it is completely justified to grieve like Hamlet did. She also shows no awareness to how the sudden death of his father is tormenting Hamlet on the inside, so she isn't going to think deeply about King Hamlet's death or put any thought into what Hamlet is thinking.

Another ex...

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...s love for each were still there. During Hamlet's sarcastic conversation with Ophelia, Gertrude wants to believe that the love is still there. "The belief at the bottom of her heart was that the world is a place constructed simply that people may be happy in it in a good-humored sensual fashion" (Bradley, p. 141). This being another example that reality escapes Gertrude thought process.

In conclusion the last scene in the play shows Gertrude's two sides. As a mother, she means well and does have concern for her son but her poor judgment became a major cause of the tragedy. If Gertrude had been a more logical kind of person, many of the deaths might not have happened.

Works Cited

Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York, 1965.
Cohen, Michael. "Hamlet" in My Mind's Eye. Athens (Georgia), 1980
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