An analysis of Gertrude, Hamlet's Mother
The relationship between Claudius and Gertrude is destructive in two ways. First, they destroy the potential in their own relationship; second, they destroy other. In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Gertrude is Hamlet's mother and Queen of Denmark. Her relationship with Hamlet is somewhat turbulent, since he resents her In the next act, Gertrude tells Claudius of Polonius' murder, convinced that Hamlet is truly mad. She also shows genuine compassion and affection as she. Gertrude is also a very sexual being, and it is her sexuality that turns Hamlet so violently against her. And Claudius has indeed, according to the Ghost, contaminated his precious Gertrude, but this . Hamlet's Relationship with the Ghost.
Interpretations[ edit ] There have been numerous attempts to account for Gertrude's state of mind during the play.
It could be argued that as she does not confess to any sins before she dies, she did not participate in her husband's murder. However, other considerations do point to Gertrude's complicity. After repeated erratic threats towards his mother to no response, Hamlet threatens to discover the true nature of Gertrude's character by setting up a mirror, at which point she projects a killer: You go not till I set you up a glass where you may see the inmost part of you.
The inscestuous marriage between Gertrude and Claudius
What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Eliot suggests that the main cause of Hamlet's internal dilemma is Gertrude's sinful behaviour. He states, "Shakespeare's Hamlet An Interpretive Romance, an early attempt to give Gertrude's own perspective on her life and the events of the play.
The Relationship of Claudius and Gertrude
Wyman explicitly "interrogates the nineteenth-century cult of the self-sacrificing mother", critiquing the influence it had on interpretations of the play by both male critics and actresses playing Gertrude. Influenced by Jones's psychoanalytic approach, several productions have portrayed the "closet scene",  where Hamlet confronts his mother in her private quarters, in a sexual light. In this reading, Hamlet is disgusted by his mother's "incestuous" relationship with Claudius while simultaneously fearful of killing him, as this would clear Hamlet's path to his mother's bed.
Carolyn Heilbrun 's essay "Hamlet's Mother" defends Gertrude, arguing that the text never hints that Gertrude knew of Claudius poisoning King Hamlet. Draper] also draws attention to the Ghost's complaint that he was "Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatch'd" I.
She lies to herself about the consequences of her actions, and she lies to those around her. But she lies to protect.
Hers are not cruel and wicked falsehoods; hers are white lies that she feels she must tell in order to keep her and those around her safe physically and emotionally. She must tell the King that Hamlet has killed Polonius, but, she does what she can to help Hamlet, telling Claudius that Hamlet "weeps for what is done" when clearly he does not. On the surface it is hard to comprehend why Hamlet, his father, and Claudius all have such a deep devotion to Gertrude.
But the qualities that save her from condemnation along with Claudius are subtly woven into the play. She loves Hamlet, and, underneath her shallow exterior, shows great emotion when he confronts her.
Gertrude truly does not know what she has done to make Hamlet so furious, and it is only when he tells her that she understands her actions to be wrong: O Hamlet, speak no more: Thou turn'st my very eyes into my soul, And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct III.
O speak to me no more; these words like daggars enter my ears; No more, sweet Hamlet! No where else in the play is Gertrude portrayed as cunning or Janus-faced, as is Claudius.
Even though Hamlet lashes out at her with all the rage he can muster, Gertrude remains faithful to him, protecting him fron the King. And, although her love for Claudius is wrong by moral standards, she is now his queen, and remains loyal to him. We see she has the potential for great love -- she wants to protect Claudius from the mob, and she cares deeply about Ophelia and Polonius, and is concerned for Hamlet in the duel even though she has no idea that it is a trap.
It is Gertrude's underlying propensity for goodness that redeems her. Her men forgive her for her shallow, sensual nature and her addictions to comfort and pleasure because they see that she is innocent of premeditation. It is sad but fitting that Gertrude meet her end drinking from the poisoned goblet, demanding that she taste what is in the pretty cup, as trusting as a new-born babe.