In William Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy Hamlet, the audience meets a queen who is a former and present queen. She was unhappy before – how does she feel now? Is she evil, guilty, motherly, lascivious? The multiple aspects of her personality deserve our attention.
Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments that Shakespeare’s Gertrude in Hamlet is, first and foremost, a mother:
Gertrude evinces no such need to justify her actions and thereby does not betray any sense of guilt. She is concerned with her present good fortune, and neither lingers over the death of her first husband nor analyses her motives in taking another. . . .She seems a kindly, slow-witted, rather self-indulgent woman, in no way the emotional or intellectual equal of her son. . . . Certainly she is fond of Hamlet. Not only is she prepared to listen to him when he storms at her, proof that he is sufficiently close to her to have a right to make comments on her personal life, but she is unfailingly concerned about him. (46-47)
Gunnar Bokland in “Hamlet” describes Gertrude’s moral descent during the course of Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
With Queen Gertrude and finally also Laertes deeply involved in a situation of increasing ugliness, it becomes clear that, although Claudius and those who associate with him are not the incarnations of evil that Hamlet sees in them, they are corrupt enough from any balanced point of view, a condition that is also intimated by the “heavy-headed revel” that distinguishes life at the Danish court. (123)
Gertrude’s “contamination” does indeed affect the hero. Courtney Lehmann and Lisa S. Starks in "Making Mother Matter: Repression...
... middle of paper ...
Lehmann, Courtney and Lisa S. Starks. "Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into' Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet." Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 2.1-24 <URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/06-1/lehmhaml.htm>.
Pitt, Angela. “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint of Shakespeare’s Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. http://www.chemicool.com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full.html No line nos.
Smith, Rebecca. “Gertrude: Scheming Adulteress or Loving Mother?” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. of “Hamlet”: A User’s Guide. New York: Limelight Editions, 1996.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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: The final injunction, ‘Leave her to heaven’, must temper our feeling of the Ghost’s personal vindictiveness.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
2585 words (7.4 pages)
- Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet and John Updike's Gertrude and Claudius In every royal court throughout history, there has been the man who knows everything about everyone, and generally has the ear of the king; Shakespeare’s court of Denmark is no exception. Polonius, adviser and Lord Chamberlain to King Hamlet and Claudius, seems to know every intrigue, every alliance made in the interwoven royal court. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Polonius is firmly seated at the King’s right hand and he will go to any lengths to facilitate the union of young Hamlet and Ophelia.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Updike Gertrude Essays]
1850 words (5.3 pages)
- Regarding Hamlet’s Gertrude Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments that Shakespeare’s Gertrude in Hamlet is, first and foremost, a mother: Gertrude evinces no such need to justify her actions and thereby does not betray any sense of guilt. She is concerned with her present good fortune, and neither lingers over the death of her first husband nor analyses her motives in taking another. . . .She seems a kindly, slow-witted, rather self-indulgent woman, in no way the emotional or intellectual equal of her son.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
2448 words (7 pages)
- The explicit behaviors and reactions of characters within a dramatic tragedy serve not only to augment the play’s action and plot, but also to underscore the distinct qualities of each persona. William Shakespeare, in particular, establishes the discrepancies in personality among the characters of Hamlet through clear conditions that markedly portray the motives and ambitions of even minor characters. By combining complex attitudes and manners, Shakespeare develops immensely multifaceted individuals who present variety as well as conflict for the piece as a whole.... [tags: Gertrude, Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet]
1221 words (3.5 pages)
- “Take action. When we do not take action, our potentiality becomes the soil that houses the seeds of our regret”(Maraboli). In order to accomplish one’s goals, Maraboli emphasizes the importance of taking initiative. Without the actions to follow up, dreams and ambition turn into wasted potential. From Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the protagonist, Hamlet, has a purpose to avenge his father’s death. Throughout the play, Hamlet speaks several times regarding the significance of his duty, however struggles to back up his words with action when the time comes.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]
1106 words (3.2 pages)
- People will hate others for reasons that are far beyond ones knowledge and understanding. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlets father, Hamlet Sr., is murdered by his brother, Claudius, in order for him to obtain the throne and be King of Denmark. Hamlet begins to see his late father ghost. The ghost informs him how he truly died and it is at this time when Hamlet vows to get revenge in honour of his father. His mother remarries very quickly and his girlfriend, Ophelia, rejects him for reasons beyond Hamlet’s knowledge.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Marriage]
1384 words (4 pages)
- Sometimes losing a loved one can damage a person mentally, emotionally and physically. In “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, the question of whether Hamlet is crazy or not is frequently brought up. Hamlet is a very complex character, but the emotion expressed with his father’s death, the way he communicates and his actions express how he is going insane after his father’s death. The sign of Hamlet being crazy is constantly shown throughout the poem. Shakespeare brings off Hamlet’s character as grieving in the beginning of the book, but throughout the poem the author helps one see that Hamlet is crazy because of the way he expresses the sorrow that he is going through, the way he acts after hi... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Love]
1041 words (3 pages)
- A Comparison of Hamlet’s Gertrude and Ophelia Queen Gertrude and Ophelia, the main female characters in Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet, have a variety of personal qualities and experiences in common. This essay, with the help of literary critics, will explore this commonality. In the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet, David Bevington enlightens the reader regarding the similarities between Gertrude and Ophelia as the hero sees them: Yet to Hamlet, Ophelia is no better than another Gertrude: both are tender of heart but submissive to the will of importunate men, and so are forced into uncharacteristic vices.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays Papers]
2565 words (7.3 pages)
- Hamlet – the Character of Gertrude Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, presents ten male characters for every one female character. The only prominent female characters are two: Ophelia, Laertes’ sister and Polonius’ daughter; and Gertrude, the queen and wife of Claudius and mother of Hamlet. This essay will explore the character, role, and importance of Gertrude. Prince Hamlet initially appears in the play dressed in solemn black. His mother, Gertrude, is apparently disturbed by this and requests of him: Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1453 words (4.2 pages)
- Hamlet –Who is Gertrude. Back in 1883 Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Lectures and Notes on Shakspere and Other English Poets comments on what he interprets as a problem or inconsistency in the presentation of the character Gertrude in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet: Ham. A bloody deed;- almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother. Queen. As kill a king. I confess that Shakspere has left the character of the Queen in an unpleasant perplexity.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
2027 words (5.8 pages)