The Extent to Which Gertrude was the Center of Evil in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The Extent to Which Gertrude was the Center of Evil in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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The Extent to Which Gertrude was the Center of Evil in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Throughout ‘Hamlet’ we are presented with two possible readings of
Gertrude. The first comes from the impression of her forced upon us by
the discussions and accusations of Hamlet and the Ghost. The second
comes from the lines of Gertrude herself. If we were to follow the
first of these two possibilities, placing our trust in the hands of a
very possibly insane Hamlet, we accuse Gertrude of playing at least a
small part in the murder of King Hamlet; this in turn leads to the
conclusion that Gertrude is sited near to the centre of evil at the
very least. This is perhaps the more popular of the two options when
it comes to stage portrayal.

The alternative option is that Gertrude is one of the play’s few
innocent characters. There are two possible explanations if this is
the case, the first being that the evidence supplied by the Ghost to
Hamlet is unreliable, possibly because the Ghost is lying, the
audience of the time would certainly been sceptical about any evidence
offered up by the spirit of Hamlet’s father with ghosts being more
associated with hell than anything else at the time and this would be
perpetuated by Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 4 where he himself
questions the motives of the Ghost:

Be thou a spirit of health, or a goblin damned,

Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,

Be thy intents wicked or charitable,

Another explanation could be that Hamlet is delusional and the Ghost
is merely a figment of his imagination; the second possibility is that
she is completely i...


... middle of paper ...


...n her relationship with her husband Claudius, I
feel that she must have knowledge of the circumstances of the King’s
death. I believe that it is she who drove Claudius into his actions
which in turn leads on to any other evil actions carried out later on
in the play, including those carried out by Hamlet in vengeance for
his father. Therefore, assuming this to be true, all evil can be
traced back to Gertrude, which places her at the very centre of evil.

1,890


Bibliography

Film: - HAMLET (UK, 1996), Director: Kenneth Brannagh

Production: - HAMLET (Nottingham Playhouse, 2004), Director: Ninagawa

Text: - HAMLET, Editor: Edwards, P

Bradley, A.C., Shakespearian Tragedy, Macmillan (1904)

Holy Bible: New International Version (1973)

Smith, R., A Hart Cleft Twain: The Dilemma of Shakespeare’s Gertrude

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