William deeply in question throughout the play. Gertrude

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William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet was often times enveloped in mystery where the character morals were deeply in question throughout the play. Gertrude is one of many characters on where her innocence throughout the play is easily questionable. Her relationship with Claudius instantly sparks the question of whether she herself married him to protect herself and her son, or had succumbed to the sin of lust and had secretly loved Claudius. At the same time, it begs the question of whether or not she knew that Claudius murdered her husband. This makes Gertrude a person of interest because of her selfish attitude throughout the play and her characteristics of being a morally and sexually corrupt woman.In the beginning of the play, Gertrude hastily marries Claudius once he had come to power as king. It can be assumed that perhaps her marriage with Claudius was purely due to her being driven solely by her feelings and her deep emotional connection with those close to her. Because of this, she often times lives in the moment and does not bother contemplating about the past or future, making her current position to grasp for as much power as she can. Because of this, Hamlet is still infuriated by Gertrude’s actions on marrying her brother-in-law,  his uncle, as swiftly as she did. This is seen when Hamlet berates her with insults on how easily she married Claudius just two months after her husband’s death. Once Hamlet says ” O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (1.2) he is outwardly calling Gertrude a loose incestuous woman, which in this era is one of the greatest insults one can ever say to a female, and from the female’s point of view, this is the most shameful incident ever. Because of her hasty marriage with Claudius, Hamlet is agitated on why his mother did not spend more time mourning his father’s death. This is seen when Hamlet says, ” Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married.”(1.2). Consequently, this shows that Gertrude, being a woman, that she is deceptive and incestuous due to whom she had married and the pace of which it had occurred, and therefore treats her accordingly to how Hamlet had begun to view her. Upon deeper analysis, Gertrude is seen as a shallow woman. This is due to her relationships with those close to her as she is easily led and rarely takes time to reflect on herself on what is happening around her. Gertrude’s selfishness is the one interesting trait in what is otherwise a very dull characterization.Often times we also see Gertrude being rather uneasy when there is trouble surrounding her. She would rather not confront other people’s anger but wishes to please people and keep other people happy. One of her early request to Hamlet was “Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off ” (1.1) essentially telling him to stop being so upset over his father’s death and to look on Claudius as his father even though she has doubts about their “o’erhasty marriage” (2.2) which is typical of her weak-willed attitude. Because of this, Gertrude is easily persuaded to obey other people the way they want her to. This is related to how she is continuously trying to keep other people happy. She even willingly agrees to let Polonius hide in her while she was talking to Hamlet. However, because of this, she may also be aiding Polonius believing he can decipher the cause of Hamlet’s insanity. “The queen his mother lives almost by his looks; and for myself–” (4.7). Gertrude also allows Claudius to decide what to do with Hamlet by sending him off to England, thereby unwittingly conforming to Claudius’ schemings. On top of that, there is no limit to her desire to avoid trouble. Even after Hamlet has told her about Claudius being the reason her husband is dead, she brushes it off as if it were the insanity talking. This is also seen when Laertes rushes into the king’s court accusing him of murder, where she tries to quell his anger “calmly good Laertes” (4.5) and later she defends Claudius saying, “but not by him” (4.5) in reply to Laertes’ accusations. Showing that Gertrude was easily willing to protect Claudius over Hamlet, even if that meant putting Hamlet in an unfavorable position with Laertes. This further shows how Gertrude very much tends to be extremely selfish and how easily she bends to other people’s will. A certain ambiguity surrounds Gertrude throughout the play on whether she was involved in the murder of King Hamlet. Though it may never be clear on whether or not she was directly involved with the murder, it is evident that Gertrude herself was always a weak, shallow woman who cared mostly for her own selfish desires. Never taking time to reflect on the past, or even considering the future, always living in the present.

Categories: Marriage


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