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.
Shakespeare’s sinful woman in the tragedy Hamlet is named Gertrude. Wife of Claudius and mother of the prince, she is not selected by the ghost for vengeance by the protagonist. Let’s consider her story in this essay.
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 ...
Firstly, Gertrude is introduced as a queen that clearly lacks independency. In the beginning of the play, she is as a character that always in need of a male existence next to her. Just “within a month” (I.II.149) after the late King Hamlet deceased, she already hurried herself to get another husband. This attitude of hers sickens Hamlet terribly; he cannot come to comprehend how his mother could behave less than a beast, for a beast “would have mourned longer” (I.II.150). Shakespeare sets the play with this idea that women are corrupted with sexual drive—and always in lust for it. Because Gertrude obediently follows her lustful inner soul, she goes on ahead with the marriage with Claudius—which Hamlet refers to as “incestuous” and “rotten”. The moment the marriage is royally held, Gertrude loses her credibility as a mother in Hamlet’s eyes. Adding to this, Shakespeare uses the character Gertrude to show indecisiveness and hollowness of women. The character ...
...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.
Hamlet possesses an uncomfortable obsession with his mother’s sexuality. For this reason, Hamlet’s soliloquies provide most of the audience’s information about Gertrude’s sexual activities. In his first soliloquy, Hamlet refers to the relationship between Gertrude and Claudius when he exclaims, “Within a month…She married. O, most wicked speed, to post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (I, ii, 153-157). In saying this, Hamlet displays how hastily Gertrude has abandoned the late King Hamlet, Hamlet’s father, such that she has already married Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle. In addition, Hamlet acknowledges that Gertrude and Claudius have quickly developed a very sexual relationship. Despite the very recent death of her husband, Gertrude is unable to control her sexual desires, and she remarries less than two months after King Hamlet’s funeral.
And What of Gertrude in Hamlet? To what extent does evil reign in the heart of Queen Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet? This essay will delve into her character, and into the deposit of literary criticism regarding her, in order to analyze her character in depth. Philip Edwards’ “The Ghost: Messenger from a Higher Court of Values?” expresses the necessity of the Ghost leaving the guilt of Gertrude to the afterlife:
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.
Less than two months after his father’s death, Prince Hamlet’s mother Gertrude gets remarried to his father’s brother Claudius, which upsets the prince immensely. During Hamlet’s first important soliloquy, he states
...Gertrude, as does the incestuous Claudius; thus, Hamlet places his identity with his mother. Ultimately, Hamlet seeks not to avenge the death of his father, but to save his mother from her own destructive sexuality, and by extension his own self-destruction. Of course, Adelman prescribes an existential reason to Hamlet's need to rescue his mother; Hamlet needs to "recover the fantasized presence of the asexual mother of childhood" (277). Hamlet needs to separate his mother from all sexuality in order to reap the stability of her selfhood for his own. After refusing to sleep with Claudius, Gertrude restores herself in her son's eyes to the status of "an internal good mother" (279). Hamlet, now, by "trusting her, can begin to trust in himself and in his own capacity for action; he can rebuild the masculine identity spoiled by her contamination" (279).