In the play Hamlet, Gertrude is very complex. She is a wife, mother, widow and queen and is vital to the action of the play. She lies to herself about the consequences of her actions of marrying her dead husband’s brother. Gertrude changes throughout the play and her relationships with other characters help develop the plot. Gertrude is, more so than any other character in the play, the antithesis of her son, Hamlet. (Introduction p 1)
Gertrude is a very complex character because she married Claudius, her husband’s brother, shortly after her husband’s death. Those actions are morally wrong and the ghost of old Hamlet revers to Gertrude as an adulterer. “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts wicked wit, and gifts that have the power so to seduce!--won to his shameful lust the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen. (I.V)” (Introduction p1) However, Gertrude is actually a very caring person. She tries to protect Claudius from the mob. As well as she worries about Ophelia when she goes crazy. At Ophelia’s funeral she says how she wishes Ophelia could have ended up being the wife of Hamlet. She is also scared for Hamlet during the duel against Laertes which ends up being a trap to poison Hamlet and kill him. Gertrude has made poor choices that can make her look like a villain but actions that also make her look very caring.
Gertrude’s actions are responsible for a lot of Hamlets madness. In the beginning of the play, before Hamlet discovers the truth behind his father’s murder, he is upset at his mother because she remarried quickly. Not only did she remarry quickly but married her dead husbands brother, Claudius. When Hamlet finds out that Claudius murdered his fat...
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...The biggest question about Gertrude is whether or not she is aware of the fact that her new husband, Claudius, is the murderer of her ex-husband, Old Hamlet. Gertrude contributes to the action and meaning of the play and helps the play to develop.
"An analysis of Gertrude, Hamlet's Mother." An analysis of Gertrude, Hamlet's Mother. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
Heilbrun, Carolyn. "The Character of Hamlet’s Mother." Shakespeare Quarterly 8:2 (1957): pp. 201–206. Quoted as "The Character of Hamlet's Mother" in Bloom, Harold, ed. Hamlet, Bloom's Shakespeare Through the Ages. New York: Chelsea House Publishing, 2008. Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Apr. 2014