Essay sample

Is Gertrude Involved With Claudius’s Multiple Plots to Kill Hamlet?

Free ideas for

In telling the story of a fatally indecisive character’s inability to choose the proper course to avenge his father’s death, Hamlet explores questions of fate versus free will, whether it is better to act decisively or let nature take its course, and ultimately if anything we do in our time on earth makes any difference. Once he learns his uncle has killed his father, Hamlet feels duty-bound to take decisive action, but he has so many doubts about his situation and even about his own feelings that he cannot decide what action to take. The conflict that drives the plot of Hamlet is almost entirely internal: Hamlet wrestles with his own doubt and uncertainty in search of something he believes strongly enough to act on.

Free ideas for

Many critics misread the line "adulterate beast" as proof that Gerturde had been the lover of Claudius even before Hamlet's father had died. This would make the Queen a far more loathsome character than Shakespeare had intended, and the rest of the play makes no mention of this adultery. Adulterate, by definition, means to change to a worse state by mixing; to contaminate with base matter

And Claudius has indeed, according to the Ghost, contaminated his precious Gertrude, but this does not mean that Claudius did so before Hamlet's father died.

Free ideas for

The most enduring characterisation of Gertrude – as shamelessly sensual and shallow – is provided by Hamlet and the Ghost. Hamlet frequently mentions his mother’s sexuality, and obsesses about her physical relationship with Claudius, describing their marital bed as ‘incestuous sheets’ (1.2.57) and ‘an enseamèd bed, / Stewed in corruption’ (3.4.84–85)

The Ghost also speaks of Gertrude’s sexuality when he bitterly laments: So lust, though to a radiant angel linked, Will sate itself in a celestial bed And prey on garbage. (1.5.55–57)

Free ideas for

Ultimately, Gertrude falls victim to the same poison that her second husband used to murder her first. At the play’s beginning, it was the offer of marriage from Claudius that enabled her to continue as queen on Denmark’s throne

But at the end, Gertrude is literally dethroned when she collapses to the floor as a result of drinking from the tainted wine goblet the same Claudius intended for her son.

Free ideas for

Bloom, Harold. Hamlet, Poem Unlimited. New York: Riverhead Books, 2003.

Wilder, John. “John Wilder’s Preface to Hamlet.”Bloom’s Guides, Hamlet. 2004.

Was this essay example useful for you?

Do you need extra help?

Order unique essay written for you
essay statistic graph
Topic Popularity