Hamlet And Gertrude's Relationship Essay

824 words - 3 pages

Hamlet by William Shakespeare focuses on the title character plotting vengeance against Claudius for his father's murder to capture the Danish crown. The new king is also Hamlet's uncle and now stepdad due to the marriage with his mother, Gertrude. Through a sequence of events, the protagonist eventually avenges his father, although both his mother and himself fall to a tragic fate as well. Throughout the course of the play, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude changes from strained to a disrespectful and mistrustful to a bittersweet ending.
The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is strained at first. From the beginning of the play to act III, Hamlet is bitter with his mother. He feels this way because it has been less than four months since the death of his biological father, yet she is already remarried to Claudius. He feels his father is being betrayed from her lack of mourning. She tells her son to "cast thy nighted color off" (I.ii.68) and "all that lives must die" (I.ii.72). Clearly, she isn't grieving over her late husband's death and instead puts forth an optimistic attitude to her new husband and life. Gertrude's concern with Hamlet's odd behaviour after his encounter with Ophelia in act II scene i also shows the strain in their relationship. For example, she agrees with Claudius' words that "of Hamlet's transformation" (II.ii.5) and suggests Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy and find out the underlying cause of her son's problems. In addition to that, she consents Polonius to hide behind the tapestry in act III scene iv without Hamlet knowing. These two decisions suggest their inability to communicate. Instead, spying is required for Gertrude to find out about her son's inner mentality. The mother and son relationship takes a further negative turn later.
In act III scene iv, Hamlet and Gertrude's relationship develops into a disrespectful and mistrustful one. Hamlet's rant to persuade her that Claudius is a bad man and the murderer of his father depicts his disrespect to his mother. For instance, he tells her, "You go not till I set you up a glass / Where you may see the inmost part of you." (III.iv.20-21) He is threatening his own mother! Later, he addresses her as "thou wretched, rash, intruding fool" (III.iv.32) Even though Gertrude's lust for Claudius aggravates him, Hamlet fails to show even the most fundamental respect to his superior. The relationship is full of disloyalty and distrust...

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