Essay Considering Gertrude of Shakespeare's Hamlet

Essay Considering Gertrude of Shakespeare's Hamlet

Length: 1687 words (4.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Gertrude of Hamlet           


     In Hamlet, Gertrude is a woman who means no harm but whose poor judgment contributes greatly to the terrible events that occur. There are only two female characters in the play, and neither one--Gertrude or Ophelia--is assertive. But the decisions Gertrude does make eventually lead to her death and the downfall of others as well.

      We first realize in Act I, Scene 2 that poor judgment is her major character flaw. As the mother of a grieving son, Gertrude should have been more sensitive to Hamlet's feelings. Instead, less than two months after King Hamlet's death, Gertrude remarries Claudius, her dead husband's own brother. Gertrude should have realized how humiliated Hamlet would feel as a result, because at that time it was considered incestuous for a widow to marry her husband's brother. There is also jealousy on the part of a son, who feels that his mother should be giving him more attention during the mourning period. Gertrude is not in touch with her own son's feelings to see why he is angry. Hamlet expresses this outrage during his first soliloquy:

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

Gertrude is shown to be a loving mother but a parent who cannot read into her sons's behavior. When answering Hamlet, she says that it is common for all men to die, but this is not just any man who has died, she should realize; it's Hamlet's own father! Also, when Gertrude asks Hamlet:

           If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee? (I.ii 74-75)

she means to calm him down, but the word "seems" only makes Hamlet more suspicious. She fails to realize that in his sensitive mood, the word "seems" will give Hamlet the ...


... middle of paper ...


... him! But she finally has to admit to herself that Claudius is guilty of murdering old Hamlet and of trying to murder Hamlet. When she warns Hamlet not to drink the wine, she again is showing compassion for her son and her wish to protect him from danger.

      In other words, the play's last scene summarizes Gertrude's two sides. As a mother, she means well and does have concern for her son but her bad decisions and failure to judge people correctly are a major cause of the tragedy. If Gertrude had been a different kind of person, many of the deaths might not have happened.

 

List of Works Cited


Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. New York, 1965.

Cohen, Michael. "Hamlet" in My Mind's Eye. Athens (Georgia), 1980.

Coyle, Martin, ed. New Casebooks: Hamlet. New York, 1992.

King, Walter N. Hamlet's Search for Meaning. Athens (Georgia), 1982-.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet ' Essay

- Shakespeare’s Hamlet indicates “There’s divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will” [5,2,10] given that “the devil hath power”. [2,2,188] These comments demonstrate that power is often in the hands of those who will abuse it and yet, the abuse of that power will not necessarily bring desired rewards. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that fate will treat the abuser kindly, and ‘divinity’ is in control of how the characters ends are shaped. This power abuse is demonstrated both through Claudius’ manipulation of Hamlet, Gertrude and Laertes in order to maintain his authority now that he is King; and, through Hamlet and Claudius’ use of their implicit power over women, which is...   [tags: Gertrude, Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Polonius]

Powerful Essays
1252 words (3.6 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Hamlet 's Uncle And The King Of Denmark Essay

- The play has an antagonist Claudius, who is Hamlet’s uncle and the King of Denmark. There are two significant ways Claudius acts as a foil for Hamlet. Firstly Claudius does not hesitate to utilize violence to further him self and advance his compulsive desire for power. Hamlet is seeking the avengement of his father, which requires the use of violence. However, unlike Claudius, Hamlet is constrained by his conscious to act upon his revenge. Claudius’s desire for power is shown when it is found out that he murdered his brother in order to take over the throne....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1303 words (3.7 pages)

Gertrude and Helen: Wantonness in the Trojan War and Shakespeare's Hamlet

- Gertrude and Helen: Wantonness in the Trojan War and Hamlet       Hamlet is the melancholy Dane; Claudius, the smiling villain. Polonius is the oily courtier; Horatio, the loyal friend. Most of the characters in Hamlet are well defined and unambiguous; the character of Gertrude, however, presents us with many ambiguities and difficulties. Some critics see her as "well-meaning but shallow and feminine, in the pejorative sense of the word: incapable of any sustained rational process, superficial and flighty" (Heilbrun 10), while others see her as a stronger character, cool and calculating....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
1600 words (4.6 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Good Or Evil? Essay examples

- ... Except Hamlet begins to consider all the alternatives, how killing will send him to hell and how Claudius will be sent to heaven since he would die in the middle of confession. His careful consideration that is shown beforehand with Claudius shows he is in the right mind, but when he kills Polonius there is no sign of any kind of thought except for aggression. Polonius’s murder portrays Hamlet’s psychotic behavior perfectly. Once he realizes whom he has killed, he feels no remorse. Instead he chooses to drag the body around and hide it while making jokes about it when questioned....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1849 words (5.3 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - The Sanity Or Insanity Essay

- ... When he first saw the ghost (prince hamlet’s father) he did not believe it to be true but as they went on to have a meaningful conversation, Hamlet discovers something that changes his whole life and just cannot accept the happenings. This drives him crazy and on the verge of losing his senses. When his father’s spirit (the ghost) clarifies that Claudius his uncle was the reason for his death and tells Hamlet to take a revenge saying; Revenge his foul play and most unnatural murder (1.5.25)....   [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1647 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Psychosomatic Quietus Of Hamlet By William Shakespeare

- Psychosomatic Quietus of Hamlet In discussion of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one controversial issue had been whether Hamlet was completely sane or not when he went about his objective. Some critics argue that Hamlet is considered as “someone who is naive and irrational”. My own view is that Hamlet’s demise was due to a serious psychological disorder. Even from the beginning of Hamlet’s “ordinary world” he’s been thrown into depression. His depression helps Hamlet accept the “call to adventure” without much delay, it gives him whim of his “tests, allies and enemies”, and his depression even has influence on the “approach” to the matter at hand....   [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude]

Powerful Essays
1852 words (5.3 pages)

Essay on Portrayal of Women in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- Portrayal of Women in Shakespeare's Hamlet   Shakespeare was possibly the first writer to portray women as strong, crafty, and intelligent. However, he has still received criticism from feminists about his representation of women. Some have even accused him of misogyny. There are only two female characters in the play Hamlet - Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and Ophelia, daughter of Polonius. Any debate based upon gender roles must therefore focus upon these two characters. Shakespeare portrays Gertrude as a woman of power and intelligence - she was Queen for a considerable amount of time - we can safely assume at least 30 years - and she is asked advice on matters by King Claudius - "Do you t...   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

-        In Shakespeare's Hamlet, there are two characters that display qualities of insanity.  They are Hamlet and Ophelia.  Although they both appear to be mad at times, their downfall (or supposed downfall) is quite different.  Ophelia's crazed characteristics show up and intensify quite rapidly, until she is ultimately led to suicide.  Her madness seems definite, and it is never questioned.  The insanity or sanity of the main character is an arguable question.  The issue can be discussed both ways, with significant support to either theory....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1379 words (3.9 pages)

Soliloquies of Shakespeare's Hamlet - The To be or not to be Soliloquy

- Hamlet -- the “To be or not to be” Soliloquy         In William Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet the fourth of the seven soliloquies by the hero is generally considered exceptional and more famous than the others. This essay will examine and analyze this soliloquy, and explore the reasons for its fame.   This famous soliloquy manifests the expression of very deep and conflicting emotions. Ruth Nevo in “Acts III and IV: Problems of Text and Staging” explains the basic conflict within the hero’s most famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy:   Since we know what Hamlet’s obligatory task is, we cannot but register the possibility that the taking of arms and the “enterprises of great...   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Powerful Essays
1959 words (5.6 pages)

Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Love is one of the most powerful themes in Hamlet, but a superior force - REVENGE, drives Hamlet's love. Revenge of his father's murder. Hamlet is confused and melancholic over the fact that his mother married his own uncle and so quickly after his father's death. Even though he does not immediately suspect foul play in his father's untimely death, he is in a state of shock. As Kenneth Muir states, "He (Hamlet) is profoundly shocked by Gertrude's marriage to his uncle in less than two months after her first husband's death, although he has no conscious suspicion that his father has been murdered or that his mother had committed adultery."...   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Powerful Essays
1141 words (3.3 pages)