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Gertrude in Hamlet Essay



In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the queen Gertrude quickly marries a man named Claudius after the previous kings sudden death. This hasty marriage is often looked upon as being the source of several issues in the play, such as Hamlets alleged insanity. British essayist Lisa Gadine believes that the marriage deprives Hamlet of his lawful succession. She also believes that . her (Gertrude) guilt surrounds her as a condition of her oppression women (then) are not permanently in the object position, they are subjects. Gertrudes actions are directly related to Hamlets loss of opportunity to be king, and also have demeaned the name of the king. However, Gertrude is not directly responsible for the chaos in Hamlet and in Denmark. Regardless of the stability of her marriage with Claudius, there is no solid reason that Gertrude should have any blame for any issues in the play.

Gadine mentions that Getrudes marriage to Claudius is unlawful by early period standards and deprives hamlet of his lawful succession. Hamlet, however, is not at all concerned with the position of being king. He never shows signs of greed regarding kingship, infact his first soliloquy deals partly with Gertrudes marriage to Claudius in general, not his lost opportunity. When he says, And yet, within a month, let me not think ont, frailty, thy name is woman! (Act 1 Scene 2 Lines 149-150) Hamlet is expressing his true feelings on the marriage. He is more concerned with why Gertrude quickly married than being king. Gertrude should also not be looked down upon based on for marrying Claudius because it was unlawful for the time period. Having a husband die is surely an emotional roller coaster, and one cannot think logically. Gertrude is victim to her own emotions after King Hamlets death, and Claudius at the time was an escape. Without knowing that he was the murderer, Gertrude was simply in need of someone else to rely on, and Claudius was there.

Little of what Gertrude represents can be derived directly from her own actions. Hamlets actions reflect what Gertrudes character imposes on him throughout the play. Gertrude is just a little too nave to give the audience a sense of importance from what she says. Her words are not as powerful as Hamlets, and she just does not feel as meaningful in what she does. Her quick reply to Hamlet during the play saying, The lady doth protest too much, methinks (Act 3 Scene 2 Line 254) further shows that Gertrude believes that her position is to be quiet and be seen, not heard. Gadine believes that Gertrude feels guilt for marrying Claudius and it surrounds her as a condition of her oppression. Gertrude did not feel guilt until Hamlet forced it upon her, and she says Be thou assured, if words be made of breath and breath of life, I have no life to breathe what thou hast said to me (Act 3 Scene 4 Lines 219-221) in response to Hamlets verbal thrashing of what she has done.

Lisa Gadine blames Gertrude for taking away potential kingship from Hamlet and introducing incest into the family. Gertrude had no means of controlling herself. Her actions affected Hamlet negatively due to the inability for what she did to be accepted, but her actions were also not directly her fault. Her mindset could very well have been fully accepting of marrying Claudius, and that it was the right thing to do. Gertrudes decision is hard to justify, and few would see reason why she would marry Claudius.

Gertrude is not as intelligent as Hamlet. She does not see discord in marrying Claudius, King Hamlets brother, and she does not recognize it later on her own. The question then becomes this: How to you put blame upon a blinded or nave individual like Gertrude? The reason that she does not feel remorse for marrying Claudius is because she does not see why it would be a problem. All of the audience members should recognize that Gertrude was certainly wrong to fall to Claudius, let alone so hastily. The key to seeing her innocence is recognizing her naivety and acknowledging that she is not capable of seeing the consequences of her actions. She just wants to be seen, and not heard. The repercussions that Hamlet would later endure did not cross Gertrudes mind, but again, she is not able to see that. Gertrude was indeed the one to perform what was viewed as incorrect; however Gertrude should not be regarded in a harsh manner. She simply is not able to consciously decide like a normal person, and her personal acceptance of what others think is wrong is why she is not subject to blame.

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