The Relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet Pages: 5 (1776 words) Published: October 14, 2013
Hamlet is a tragedy and one of the most famous plays by William Shakespeare. The story is about the revenge of Prince Hamlet on his uncle Claudius, who has murdered Hamlet’s father, the King, and then taken the throne and married Hamlet’s mother. In this play, Gertrude is Hamlet's mother and Queen of Denmark. Her relationship with Hamlet is somewhat turbulent, since he resents her for marrying her husband's brother Claudius after he murdered the King (young Hamlet's father, King Hamlet). Gertrude is first seen in Act 1 Scene 2 as she tries to comfort Hamlet about the death of his father, begging him to stay at home rather than going back to Wittenberg. Her worries on him continues into the second act, as she sides with King Claudius in sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to raise the spirits of her son. Also, rather than ascribing Hamlet's madness to Ophelia's rejection, she believes the cause is his father, King Hamlet's death and her quick remarriage to Claudius: "I doubt it is no other but the main; His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage." In the next act, Gertrude tells Claudius about Polonius' murder. She tries to convince him that Hamlet is truly mad; she also shows true compassion and affection when she watches Ophelia sings and acts in absolute madness. At Ophelia's burial, she expresses her former hope that the young woman might have married her son: "I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife." Gertrude: There is a willow grows aslant a brook,

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
When Hamlet appears and grapples with Laertes, she asks him to stop and for someone to hold him back—saying that he may be in a fit of madness now, but that will alleviate soon. In the final scene, Gertrude notices Hamlet is tired during the fight with Laertes, and offers to wipe his brow. She drinks a cup of poison intended for Hamlet by the King, against the King's wishes, and dies, shouting in agony as she falls: "No, no, the drink, --O my dear Hamlet,-- The drink, the drink! I am poison'd." When the poison begins to grip her, she insists on wiping Hamlet’s brow, as if her last act as mother must be of the nurturing kind, a species of natural love, which her marriage to Claudius has prevented her from bestowing on her troubled son. Her son regards her as an example of the weakness of women and constantly hurt in his reflections of how quickly she remarried with the new King. When the Ghost of her ex-husband appears to Hamlet, he describes her as a "seeming virtuous queen", but he tells Hamlet not to confront her about it and leave her judgment to heaven. However, he also expresses that his love for her was benevolent as he states that he would have held back the elements if they "visited her face too roughly". Queen Gertrude, as other queens of this time period, is very dependent on her husband. It is very uncommon for a queen after the death of her king to marry his brother. There is a chart written in 1559 by William Clerke about prohibited marriages. It is called The Trial of Bastardies and there are 16 prohibited marriages and the probation not to marry your brother’s wife is one of them. A queen like Gertrude is more of a public figure than an authoritative ruler. She manages her children but she...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Oedipus Relationship Between Hamlet and Gertrude Essay
  • Relationship of Hamlet and Gertrude Essay
  • Hamlet Relationships Essay
  • The Relationship Between Hamlet and Ophelia Essay
  • Gertrude & Hamlet Relationship Essay
  • Relationships in Hamlet Essay
  • Essay about Hamlet
  • Hamlet and Gertrude: Love or Hate Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free