This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Essay On Gertrude And Ophelia’s Death In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1758 words - 7 pages

Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Hamlet  

The Queen gives a remarkably detailed account of Ophelia’s death leaving one to believe that she may have witnessed the event. We know that she emphasized with Ophelia’s suffering to such an extent that perhaps she realized that the kindest action to take would be to let Ophelia decide her own fate, although she clearly was not in a fit state of mind to do this and was barely aware of her surroundings “incapable of her own distress.” Ophelia’s death is “beautified” as she dies in a romantic and beautiful scene befitting her character where she was surrounded by her garland of flowers. (Ophelia herself was “beautified” in a letter from Hamlet which Polonius found to be a “vile phrase.”) There is much detail, leading me to believe that Gertrude is trying to soften the blow for Laertes who is already enraged over his father’s death and his sister’s madness; the King says, “How much I had to do to clam his rage.” This is a typically selfish reaction of Claudius which serves to emphasize the need for Laertes to control his grief, as he is an extremely fiery character.

Ophelia died after collecting flowers from over a brook. I think that she was collecting them to distribute to the court, as she did after her father’s death. Flowers are a symbol of innocence, pure and easily destroyed. The tree she was crawling along whilst collecting these garlands was a willow, which is usually associated with weeping and grief, something we have assigned to the “watery” (perhaps with tears) character of Ophelia. The branches of a willow hang down towards the ground in a downcast fashion, indicating grief. The personification even extends to her garments that were “too heavy with heir drink.” The “hoar leaves” which symbolize the silvery gray color which comes with age, emphasize the youth and innocence of Ophelia, who spent her entire life being used by people, especially by her father who treated her as an animal seen in his reference to his ability to “loose my daughter to him (Hamlet.)”

Ophelia had many different types of flowers in her garland, of contradicting symbolism behind each one, and I believe they were to symbolize other’s attitudes. In this particular collection, Ophelia has included “crow-flowers” which symbolize a virgin, presumably collected to represent herself; “nettles” which sting people, perhaps these are for Claudius and refer to “the serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown;” “daisies” which symbolize deception in love affairs, perhaps these are intended for Hamlet (although Ophelia in her madness has already mistaken Laertes for her “love;” “long purples” which are given a “grosser name” by “liberal shepherds” as the roots look like male genitalia. “Cold maids” chaste, innocent virgins, refer to them as “dead men’s fingers” which has a phallic connection, suggesting that Ophelia has never been touched, and is indeed a “cold maid.” “Cold” because she has...

Find Another Essay On Essay on Gertrude and Ophelia’s Death in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet and John Updike's Gertrude and Claudius

2010 words - 8 pages Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet and John Updike's Gertrude and Claudius In every royal court throughout history, there has been the man who knows everything about everyone, and generally has the ear of the king; Shakespeare’s court of Denmark is no exception. Polonius, adviser and Lord Chamberlain to King Hamlet and Claudius, seems to know every intrigue, every alliance made in the interwoven royal court. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet

Shakespeare's Hamlet - Gertrude Essay

2552 words - 10 pages Hamlet!’ The simple endearment is very poignant, reminding us that the bond between mother and son, and Hamlet’s desperate jealousy of Claudius, account for as much of the tragic progress of the play as the need to avenge old Hamlet’s death (46-47).   Is Gertrude a mother first, and queen second? This essay hopes to resolve seeming contradictions in the character of Queen Gertrude, as well as dealing with other aspects of her multi

Shakespeare's Hamlet - Regarding Gertrude

2056 words - 8 pages . Hamlet’s subsequent appeal that she not share the bed of Claudius causes Gertrude to feel that Hamlet has “cleft my heart in twain.”   Claudius plots the death of Hamlet in England, about which Gertrude has no knowledge. When the pirate ship captures the protagonist, and is returning him, Claudius and Laertes plot murder. When in the graveyard during Ophelia’s burial, Hamlet scuffles with Laertes in her grave, the queen analyzes

The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2161 words - 9 pages The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet The Gertrude in Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet is controversial in the sense that some critics uphold her morality and some deny it. Let’s consider this question and others related to this character. Gertrude has many good qualities in the play; she is not evil through and through. Rebecca Smith in “Scheming Adulteress or Loving Mother” presents an image of the queen in

The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet

537 words - 2 pages The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet         It is tempting to condemn Gertrude as evil, but it is probably more sensible to consider her as weak and inconstant. Hamlet's heartfelt line "Frailty, thy name is woman" sums up his view of her actions early in the play. Like many of Shakespeare's women characters, she is "sketched in" rather than drawn in detail. We know that she has a deep affection for her son, which is

Shakespeare's Hamlet: Who is Gertrude?

2106 words - 8 pages plots the death of Hamlet in England, about which Gertrude has no knowledge. When the pirate ship captures the protagonist, so that he must write that he is returning home, Claudius and Laertes plot to kill him with poisoned sword and poisoned drink. This is a direct contradiction of Gertrude’s love for him, which is the only thing that has kept the hero alive thusfar. When in the graveyard during Ophelia’s burial, Hamlet scuffles with Laertes

Ambivalence and Death in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1294 words - 5 pages talk” was written. On the other hand, to ask someone to explain what Hamlet truly means in lines 39-41, one would need to put some thought into it; it isn’t always apparent to the audience that this is a comical moment and that Claudius being told to go to Hell by Hamlet is actually quite hilarious.  In addition to the sentence length and the content, Shakespeare shows the distinct difference between Hamlet’s quick thinking wittiness and

Custom Written Essays: Contrasting Gertrude and Ophelia of Shakespeare's Hamlet

2040 words - 8 pages briefly, “Alas, then, she is drown'd?” and the queen even more briefly, “Drown'd, drown'd.” Ophelia’s passing is truly of minor consequence, it would seem, at this point in the play. On the contrary, when Queen Gertrude later drinks from the poisoned cup on the occasion of the Laertes-Hamlet contest of foils, she experiences death in full view of everyone: “No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,-- / The drink, the drink! I am poison'd

Shakespeare's Hamlet - The Character of Gertrude

1499 words - 6 pages .”   Gertrude reports to Claudius on Hamlet’s killing of Polonius – reportedly due to his madness – thus keeping her word to her son. Immediately Claudius plots the death of Hamlet in England, about which Gertrude has no knowledge. When the pirate ship captures the protagonist, so that he must write that he is returning home, Claudius and Laertes plot to kill him with poisoned sword and poisoned drink. This is a direct contradiction of Gertrude’s

Gertrude: The Tragic Heroine of Shakespeare's Hamlet

3356 words - 13 pages narrating the episode of his murder to Hamlet, vituperates her calling her a "most seeming-virtuous queen" and then, with powerfully abhorring carnal imagery, continues to say in reference to the Queen's relationship with Claudius, "so lust, though to a radiant angel linked, will sate itself in a celestial bed and prey on garbage." (Hamlet I, v, 62-64) Gertrude is thus debased from her monarchic royalty to the basest figure of a lust-fed

A comparison essay between Shakespeare's,Hamlet, and Arthur Miller's, Death of a Salesman, on the issue of tragedy

2216 words - 9 pages Willy's discussion with Howard about getting further ahead in his business, "You can't eat the orange and throwthe peel away----a man is not a piece of fruit." (Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, pg. 84).Willy is attempting to justify his position in society and fight back against the system, which he inevitably fails miserably at doing. By comparing Shakespeare's Hamlet with Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's, Death of a Salesman, it is evident

Similar Essays

Custom Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay: Hamlet And Gertrude

2010 words - 8 pages . Immediately Claudius plots the death of Hamlet in England, about which Gertrude has no knowledge. When the pirate ship captures the protagonist, so that he must write that he is returning home, Claudius and Laertes plot to kill him with poisoned sword and poisoned drink. This is in direct contradiction to Gertrude’s love for him, which is the only thing that has kept the hero alive thusfar. When in the graveyard during Ophelia’s burial, Hamlet

Passionate Gertrude In Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

2922 words - 12 pages Passionate Gertrude in Hamlet             Like so many of the characters in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Gertrude appears to be dominated by passion. This essay will explore this and other aspects of her interesting character.   Lilly B. Campbell comments in “Grief That Leads to Tragedy” on Queen Gertrude’s sinful state:   Shakespeare’s picture of the Queen is explained to us by Hamlet’s speech to her in her closet. There

Shakespeare's Hamlet And Its Gertrude Essay

1898 words - 8 pages Hamlet and its Gertrude         How queenly is the current queen in Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet? Is she an unprincipled opportunist? A passion-dominated lover? A wife first and mother last? Let’s study her life in this play.   Courtney Lehmann and Lisa S. Starks in "Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into’ Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet," comment on the contamination of the queen

Essay Contrasing Gertrude And Ophelia Of Shakespeare's Hamlet

1884 words - 8 pages cup on the occasion of the Laertes-Hamlet contest of foils, she experiences death in full view of everyone: “No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,-- / The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.” The victimizer is thus briefly victimized at the end; but up to this point she has been on a winning team, unlike Ophelia who has been losing all along.   The contrasts between queen and subject are numerous and profound. Hopefully this essay