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Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet a Victim not Murderer

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Gertrude never seems to get in the middle of Hamlet and Claudius' disputes, so many tend to assume that she is involved in King Hamlet's murder. However, there is an abundance of in-text evidence that suggests she is very innocent and oblivious to Claudius' plots throughout the play. Most of this evidence supporting that Gertrude has nothing to do with King Hamlet's sudden death. From the start, Gertrude comes off as a very clueless and almost blind character to the things happening around her. She mourns for the death of the man she loved, but with her country in mind does what she thinks is best. Sadly, while doing so, she involves herself in a dispute that turns deadly.

It is very obvious throughout the play that Queen Gertrude and Claudius were having an affair, previous to King Hamlet's death. Therefore, their marriage, two months after her beloved husband's death, came as no surprise to anyone. Although, should that be a reason to believe Gertrude is involved in King Hamlet's murder? Hamlet speaks of his mother?s love for his father, claiming, ?Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown? (Shakespeare 1.2.28). Even Hamlet realized the love his father and mother had for each other. Also, it was very common in those days for the queen to remarry shortly after the death of a king. It helped maintain the unity of the kingdom. Gertrude may not have even felt she was doing anything wrong.

As Hamlet begins to suspect that Claudius is his father?s murderer, Gertrude remains in the dark. Unlike Claudius? signs of guilt and paranoia, Gertrude continues on with life as if nothing had ever happened. In one scene in particular, we see that she doesn?t even consider that perhaps her husband?s death was a murder. ...

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...e poisoned cup that was intended to be drank by her son. She claims, ? He's fat, and scant of breath.? Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows. The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.? (Shakespeare 5.2.324). She dies because of the same reason why she even got herself into the whole mess, her bemused and abstractedness.

Queen Gertrude was much too out of the picture to have been involved in any of Claudius? plots. She may have been unfaithful to King Hamlet and made some mistakes, but that does not mean she was involved in his murder. Hamlet?s astonishment in his mothers behavior after his father?s death made it very clear that this was very unlike Gertrude. She loved her husband and son far too much to kill or attempt to kill either of them. Where she stands in this murder is much like her one of her personality traits, very innocent.
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