Gertrude And Claudius Study Notes

925 words - 4 pages

GertrudeShe did not merely marry a second time but was also unfaithful to her husband while he was alive; this is indubitable since the Ghost states so.On the other Hand, the way Shakespeare sees it; she was not an accomplice to her husband's murder. This is evident in the closet scene where Hamlet cries:A bloody deed! Almost as bad, good motherAs kill a king and marry with his brotherAnd she replies in genuine bewilderment: 'As kill a king!' More important evidence as to this is the fact that Claudius and her never talk about the murder of the king. There is nothing to suggest that she has any notion of his secret.As for her character, the queen was not a bad-hearted woman. She was very shallow and blunt. "She loved to be happy, like a sheep in the sun; and to do her justice, it pleased her to see others happy, like more sheep in the sun." It sufficed her to be beautiful, surrounded by beautiful things and shiny happy people who would smile to her sitting on her throne. And why couldn't Hamlet just marry Ophelia and forget about the whole unpleasant business of his father's death and why couldn't they all just be satisfied and tranquil. She was fond of Ophelia and to a mind like hers the imperative of love was stronger than that of duty and rank. She saw no objection to their marriage if it would make her son happy.The only chance for the queen to see the world as it is and her own deeds as they were was for her to be made unhappy. And this is exactly what Hamlet does. He points out her faults to her, his behavior afflicts her and through this affliction the good in her nature "struggles to the surface through the heavy mass of sloth". She feels genuine remorse once Hamlet shows her what she has done, and like many other faulty characters in Shakespeare, she dies a better woman that she lived.To do justice by her, one has to admire the way she shows spirit at when Laertes leads an angry mob against the king, and she shows courage when she stands up for her husband when Laertes accuses him. The last we see of her depicts her character the best: at the fencing scene she is perfectly serene, however when she sees her sun gasping and perspiring she is full of sympathy: that is the kind of trouble she can understand. She demonstrates her love and respect for her son by insisting to drink publicly to his success, and that is where she meets her death. And this is the point where Shakespeare shows his best skill: dying Gertrude refutes king's words that she's merely swooning at the sight of blood and...

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