An Honest Representation Of The Liar

Better Essays

An Honest Representation of the Liar: Gertrude

Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, has long been the victim of dissection by English professors and their students. Its multi-faceted plot and sheer length make it a ripe specimen for analysis about nearly anything, given the right spin, but particularly present in this work, and differing from Shakespeare’s usual focal point, is the role of minor characters. While in his other plays the name Messenger is given to one whose sole role is to be a messenger, Hamlet gives full character to a host of actors, allowing present day literary analysts to delve into all aspects of the lives of Denmarkian nobility: romantic, political, familial, and so on. Alas, lacking in opportunity to see the play as it was originally performed, we must rely on Shakespeare’s written language alone, but in this task we have no lack of material to work with. Upon examination of the language, which varies at times from morbidly serious to whimsical and song-like, readers may find in Gertrude a complex individual, meriting both sympathy and blame. Understanding Gertrude as her own character and not as a relation to the play’s namesake also throws relief on one of two contrasting female roles in Shakespeare’s imagined Denmark. Gertrude is first introduced at Claudius, the new king’s, address to the kingdom, condoling the loss of his brother and announcing his marriage to his sister-in-law. Though she is equally involved in their union and has indeed

Get Access