Shakespeare's Hamlet - Gertrude Essay examples

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Regarding Hamlet’s Gertrude

Angela Pitt in “Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies” comments that Shakespeare’s Gertrude in Hamlet is, first and foremost, a mother:

Gertrude evinces no such need to justify her actions and thereby does not betray any sense of guilt. She is concerned with her present good fortune, and neither lingers over the death of her first husband nor analyses her motives in taking another. . . .She seems a kindly, slow-witted, rather self-indulgent woman, in no way the emotional or intellectual equal of her son. . . . Certainly she is fond of Hamlet. Not only is she prepared to listen to him when he storms at her, proof that he is sufficiently close to her to have a right to make comments on
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Angela Pitt considers Gertrude “a kindly, slow-witted, rather self-indulgent woman. . . .” (47). She joins in with the king in requesting Hamlet’s stay in Elsinore rather than returning to Wittenberg to study. Respectfully the son replies, “I shall in all my best obey you, madam.” So at the outset the audience notes a decidedly good relationship between Gertrude and those about her in the drama, even though Hamlet’s “suit of mourning has been a visible and public protest against the royal marriage, a protest in which he is completely alone, and in which he has hurt his mother” (Burton “Hamlet”). Hamlet’s first soliloquy expresses his anger at the quickness of his mother’s marriage to Claudius, an “o’erhasty marriage” (Gordon 128), and its incestuousness since it is between family: “Frailty, thy name is woman! . . . .” Rebecca Smith interprets his anti-motherly feelings: “Hamlet’s violent emotions toward his mother are obvious from his first soliloquy, in which 23 of the 31 lines express his anger and disgust at what he perceives to be Gertrude’s weakness, insensitivity, and, most important, bestiality. . . .(80).

When the ghost talks privately to Hamlet, he learns not only about the murder of his father, but also about the unfaithfulness and adultery of his mother, “the human truth” (Abrams 467). Gunnar Bokland in “Hamlet” describes Gertrude’s moral descent during the course of Shakespeare’s
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