The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Why did Gertrude Marry Claudius?
Claudius classified his marriage to Gertrude as an "equal scale weighing delight and dole" (1.2.12). However, the audience of William Shakespeare's play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has a hard time comprehending exactly what drove Gertrude to her hasty marriage a mere two months after the death of her husband. Character analysis along with evidence taken from the play makes the answer obvious. Gertrude married Claudius because she needed a powerful man to control her life. After King Hamlet died, Claudius took advantage of Gertrude's grief and became that man.
Authoritative men easily dominated Gertrude. Thus, she became reliant on them to tell her what to think and how to feel. Hamlet might have been angry and upset when he declared, "Frailty, thy name is women," but he declared the truth (1.2.146). His mother is fearful of men as shown in act three when Hamlet confronts her about King Hamlet's murder. Gertrude cries out to Hamlet to "speak to [her] no more" (3.4.94). Gertrude is afraid that even her own son will harm her. Gertrude's weak and command worthy nature mirrors that of Ophelia.
By taking a closer glimpse at Ophelia's character and behavior, the audience can better understand Gertrude's true nature. All the men in Ophelia's and Gertrude's lives love to command them like they are robots. In act one, both Ophelia's fatherPoloniusand her brotherLaertesgive her lectures about her relations with Hamlet. As Laertes is leaving for France Ophelia assures him that she "shall the effect of this good lesson keep/As watchman to [her] heart" (1.3.45). As to her father's orders she answers, "I shall obey, my Lord" (1.3.136). Later in act three she allows Claudius and her father to use her in an attempt to find out why Hamlet is acting crazy. Then while being exploited, Ophelia allows Hamlet to humiliate her. In short he tells her not to marry...
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