Character Analysis Of Queen Gertrude In Hamlet
In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Queen Gertrude holds in her hands the guilt of committing incest in her new marriage and breaking her marital vows with Hamlet’s father. Gertrude was viewed by her people as a devoted and strong queen, however, her own son believed she married an “incestuous, adulterate beast” after the death of his father, leaving her in a new marriage based on sin(1.5.49). This act of selfishness will affect her life forever as committing sin will not allow her to go to Heaven in addition to ruining her family propinquities. Furthermore, this new toxic relationship shattered “the vow made to her” by her first husband, along with the chance of ever being trusted by her son (1.5.56).
These two life-changing events will haunt her life as she is the reason why Hamlet has come to distrust all the female figures in his life. In addition, the guilt of living in sin caused her to be incompetent to feel joy in life and punish herself for the decisions she made until the end of her days. In conclusion, keeping secret did not only affect Gertrude but also those that surround her. Keeping a secret greatly impacted Gertrude ’s life as guilt is not easily removed.
What does the character hide from others? In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Gertrude hides her authority and knowledge from those around her in order to keep her status and popularity amongst the nobles is the kingdom. Throughout the play, Gertrude plays a passive-aggressive role as she often criticizes the people around her with powerful statements. As she was advising Polonius to speak “more matter with less art” she easily emphasizes his rambling problem in addition to affirming her intellect and command (2.2.103).
This short poetic heartbeat reveals the fierce personality that had been restrained inside of her as she utilized her status as queen to encourage change in people. In the other hand, Gertrude often resigns her given gift of knowledge as she willingly follows the King’s orders without question. The phrase “I shall obey you” is often said by Gertrude as she dedicates her trust in her husband’s judgments (1.4.145). This complex situation progresses through the play as she is now forced to confront the realities of her surroundings. As can be seen, knowledge and authority are threatening character traits that when used correctly can greatly impact someone’s life. What brings the character pain? In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Gertrude is emotionally affected by not being able to be with the two people she loves the most, her husband Claudius and her son Hamlet. As soon as Gertrude marries Claudius, Hamlet begins emotionally attacking his mother as she married at “most wicked speed” the person who killed his father (1.2.161). As a result, their mother-son relationship begun to fall apart and Hamlet’s thirst for revenge overcame him. Furthermore, Hamlet’s odd behaviors continued to take over him and started to be more noticeable to the people of Denmark, especially to King Claudius. Consequently, Gertrude interferes and tells Claudius that Hamlet is “mad as the sea and wind when both contend” (4.1.7).
This attempt to amend their relationship through distrust and dishonesty only made the matter worse creating a more significant conflict between the most important people in her life. Although Gertrude’s intentions were of good origin, the execution of her thoughts caused her beloved husband and son to grow further apart. As can be seen through Gertrude’s experience, pain is a very strong emotion that may lead someone to make irrational decisions and make a situation worse. What does the character hear and how does it affect her? In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Gertrude is overwhelmed by the news that King Claudius will exile her son Hamlet to England.
Throughout the play, Gertrude has to deal with the pain of people referring to her son as a crazy man that uses “wild and whirling words” (1.5.148). Although she is not the main reason why Hamlet is acting strangely, she does contribute to the conflict when she marries King Claudius and implements the idea that all women are as sinful as he thinks she is. Although she tried to amend their relationship and help him overcome his insanity, Hamlet does not want anything to do with his mother or her intentions to succor him. As the plot thickens and Hamlet does the unthinkable act of killing Polonius, Claudius arranges for Hamlet to “speed to England” (3.1.183).
This significant decision to the plot triggers Hamlet’s revenge to overcome him and think of nothing but how he is going to kill Claudius. Subsequently, Gertrude has to watch, hear, and feel the tension and hate between the two people she loves the most in addition to attempting to remedy their relationship. Consequently, Gertrude has to sit and watch how her son and husband reject to co-exist together, hurting her emotional health. What is the character’s focus? In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Gertrude’s focus is her outside appearance and status as the queen of Denmark. As the play develops, Gertrude reveals her need for attention and recognition from the noble people around her.
One of Hamlet’s most famous phrasese, “frailty, thy name is a woman” does not only emphasize his point of view towards women, but it describes Gertrude as she uses her natural charm to use men, such as King Claudius, to take advantage of her cleverness and abilities (1.2.150). This scheme to use her own knowledge and the authority of the men around her allows her to seem vulnerable to the people around her, but clever to the reader. However, as the plot thickens, Gertrude starts to question Claudius’s judgment as she says “I pray you pardon me” and goes against Claudius’s will (5.2.318). Before this random act of independence, her entire life was focused on selfish actions as everything she did was for her own benefit. This unfortunate decision to be independent and go beyond herself will lead her to her death as she drinks from the poisoned cup meant for Hamlet. As can be seen from Gertrude’s life, solely relying on other people for support and help may lead to making the wrong decision when faced with adversity alone.