May, 7, 2012
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There are many scenes within Shakespeare’s play Hamlet that are considered
metadramas. The one scene that contained much of the drama that took place is in the
“closet scene” (Act 3, scene 4). Hamlet plays a huge role of being very controlling and
acting as the disciplinarian in this scene.
In Act 3, scene 4, this is where Hamlet and Gertrude are alone together for the first
time. Hamlet expresses how angry and frustrated he is with his mother for the wicked act
that she committed, which was marrying her own brother-in-law who is also known as
Hamlet is dominant from the start of the conversation even though Gertrude was the one
who should have been doing much of the scolding and speaking. Despite the fact that he
should be busy trying to seek revenge for his father’s death, he seems way more
interested in expressing his disgust to his mother. When he first speaks harshly to his
mother, she becomes offended and she asks him if he realizes who he is really talking to.
He does not care that she is his mother and chooses to speak to her in any manner. His
reply is, “You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife” (3.4.15). He has the tone of
a person who is angry and the audience would get the idea that he regrets being
Gertrude’s son. Gertrude stands up after he makes this reply to her and he abusively
pushes her back down expressing his frustration.
Hamlet deprived his mother of being the authoritative person in this conversation.
Gertrude asks why he is speaking to her in such a manner and he explains his reasons. He
tells her that she has committed an evil act and that she should be ashamed of herself. An
example of this is shown when he states, “…an act that blurs the grace and blush of
modesty” (3.4.40-41). He seems to exaggerate the fact that Gertrude remarried quickly to
Claudius after his father died. At first it appears that she does not know which act Hamlet
is talking about. He decides to compare Claudius to old Hamlet. He talks of how great of
a king old Hamlet was and how people would look up to him for advice. Hamlet
continues to praise his father and then compares him to Claudius. He used a tone of
resentment to make her see the difference between her old and new husband and wanted
her to see the horrible act that she committed. He says, “here is your husband” (3.4.65),
as he begins talking about Claudius. He talks of how he is disease that is impossible to be
removed. Hamlet harshly tells Gertrude that she is not young enough to possess
passionate love for Claudius and that the only thing she can be feeling is lust. He wonders
how she could even think of going from such a great man like old Hamlet to such a
terrible man like Claudius. He asks her, “what judgment would step from this to this?”
(3.4.71-72). Hamlet then goes on to say that Gertrude must be mad that she could not
have Claudius before even deciding to marry her first husband. He asks, “What devil
was’t that thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?” (3.4.77-78). Hamlet is using
imagery here asking if Gertrude had been deceived by some sort of evil.
Hamlet views his mother as a very confused person and that her senses have left her.
She is of the older generation and should be setting a positive example. Hamlet feels that
she should not be able to tell him right from wrong if she allows the devil to deceive her.
She is supposed to be a woman of virtue and choosing to never commit any evil. Hamlet
tells Gertrude that things are happening in the wrong way and that nature is no longer
natural. The natural has suddenly become unnatural.
Hamlet stayed consistent with his tone of voice and character but Gertrude seemed to
change. At first, when he began speaking to her she looked at him wondering if her son...
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