Hamlet's relationship with Gertrude is not the one that would be expected of a mother and son. It gives Prince Hamlet an intense feeling of pain and anger because he feels that his mother betrayed his father. Two months following the death of King Hamlet, Gertrude marries his father's brother Claudius. This marriage does not appear to Hamlet as if she was mourning. Instead, he feels that his mother Gertrude is rejoicing the death of his father. It also makes him be obsessed with avenging thoughts for the death of his father. Hamlet portrays his anger for his mother directly towards her and also indirectly towards other characters such as Ophelia. In fact, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude ends up affecting his relationship with Ophelia, his girlfriend.
Importance of Gertrude in Hamlet
Hamlet's relationship with his mother, Gertrude, damages his perspective on love. When his father was still alive, Gertrude in Hamlet always loved him, and she would be by his side all along (1.2.140-145). The ability of his mother to marry so soon makes him believe that women can quickly change emotionally after having been so deep in love. Frailty, thy name is woman (1.2.146). By this, he refers not to the women's physical ability but their emotional ability to change so quickly. He learns this from his mother, Gertrude, and it also makes him set a distance between him and his love Ophelia. His expression of women as being emotionally weak also portrays his mother's betrayal not only to his father, but also to the love and sanctity of marriage.
Did Gertrude kill King Hamlet?
Hamlet views his mother Gertrude as a murderer. He believes that his mother could have helped his uncle, Claudius, to kill his father so that she could get married to him. This feeling exacerbates his vengeful feelings. His reactions show that this could have been the greatest mistake that Gertrude could have ever committed. He feels bitter about it, and he accidently kills Polonius in his mother's bedroom mistaking it for Claudius. Gertrude condemns his son's actions and in response he openly tells her that he accuses her of conspiring to kill his father. A bloody deed almost as bad as a good mother as killing a king and marrying his brother (3.4.27-28). She reacts angrily, making him change his thoughts, and he stops accusing her of killing her husband. He, however, goes on accusing her of her incestuous actions for getting together with Claudius immediately after king's death.
Gertrude in Hamlet: character analysis
Hamlet's bad relationship with his mother, Gertrude affects his behaviors, and he loses his courtesy towards her. His reprisal feelings cause him to use very harsh words when addressing his mother, something that is not expected from a son towards his mother. You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife (3.4.15). Gertrude expresses her bewilderment for her son's overreaction, but he persists insinuating her with more painful words. He also questions her for having married Claudius and tells her to repent to avoid adverse repercussions that would come. Having reached a point where she could take no more of her son's words she shouts to him warning him not to talk to her that way. She eventually realizes how much betrayal she had caused to her late husband. Even though she knew quite well, her actions were incestuous, it is after her arguments with Hamlet that she realizes and admits that Claudius killed Hamlet, the king.
What follows is a restored relationship between a mother and son. When Gertrude gets to review her soul, she feels guilty for her actions. She backs up Hamlet and assists him in avenging the death of King Hamlet. She gets a taste of her son's feelings, and she promises to get the death of King Hamlet revenge. She fools Claudius into believing that Hamlet's overreaction and madness were artificial. Gertrude takes the side of her son during the fencing match between Claudius and Laertes, an indication of her full commitment to joining hands with Hamlet.
Even though Hamlet is upset with Gertrude's actions, he still loves her mother, and he does not wish to hurt her. What makes Hamlet mad throughout his relationship with his mother is the fact that she does not show any remorseful feelings for her actions and the death of King Hamlet. The mother to son relationship begins to be amended when Gertrude realizes that Claudius killed her former husband. The restoration of Gertrude and Hamlet's relationship gives Hamlet extra effort that enables him to destroy his uncle for killing King Hamlet. Gertrude also loves her son, and she always tried to stop him from mourning the death of King Hamlet because it made her feel guilty. Although Gertrude from Hamlet conspires with Polonius to send Ophelia as bait to Hamlet so that they can listen to their conversation, she does this because she wants to know what causes his son to be mad. She also has a feeling that Hamlet knows the truth about the death of King Hamlet, but he does not want to reveal it to her. Sending Ophelia as bait to Hamlet does not portray her as a caring mother but is only concerned about the state of her son, and she tries to get to its roots.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Turtleback Books, 1992. Print.
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