Gertrude Solely Responsible for the Tragic Outcomes of the Play?

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Tragedy Pages: 4 (1509 words) Published: April 27, 2013
To what extent could you argue that Shakespeare presents Gertrude as being solely responsible for the tragic outcomes of the play? Gertrude’s egocentricity assists the tragic outcomes of the play largely. Tragedy can be defined as a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life. Tragedy is the main theme recurring throughout ‘Hamlet’, where controversially women who are known to be subjective and objectified through history take control and may be seen to be blamed for the blood shed in the play. Gertrude rebels against the typical woman of the late medieval period, she is very dominant and authoritative which contrasts against the typical women of her day and subsequently largely contributes to the tragic outcomes in Hamlet. Additionally she is the queen, therefore is given plenty of power and is more superior compared to average women.

Shakespeare’s play is based on the vengeance of Old Hamlet. It may be taken from the view that if Gertrude did not accept Claudius’ hand in marriage at such a “wicked speed” Old Hamlet would not desire the high level of revenge that he did. “I say we will have no more marriages” the use of an imperative here portrays Hamlet’s anger and disgust towards Gertrude. Hamlet declares “But two months dead – nay not so much, not two”, the use of a hyphen in the middle of the sentence resembles Hamlet is reflecting on the short amount of time it had been, and the hesitation shows that it is a hard subject for him to discuss. Furthermore, Claudius “With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage” Shakespeare uses an oxymoron here can show the controversy of Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius. Shakespeare uses religious imagery to represent Gertrudes betrayal to Hamlet and Old Hamlet when Barnardo says “It was about to speak when the cock crew”. In the bible the cock crew when St. Peter betrayed Jesus.

Gertrude is portrayed as solely responsible for Hamlet’s tirade and urge for vengeance, as she...
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