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Summary: Hamlet is upset with his mothers hasty marriage to his King Uncle Father,

Claudius following his fathers death. He suspects foul play which is later confirmed by

the ghost of his father. Now, Hamlet is set on avenging the death of his father as a favor

to him. At the same time, he must figure out who is more at fault, his mother or

uncle-father. This completely messes with Hamlets mind and he is confused entirely on

his situation. His reaction to her marriage in the first place sent him into deep depression,

but now, there might of been an alterior motive to the whole thing.

Also, there is a certain amount of hatred/jealousy towards Claudius projected from

Hamlet. It all pertains to the subject of the Oedipus Complex. Was Hamlet indeed in

love with his mother and longing to take the place of her affections?

1. a father killed, a mother stained… Quote used to describe basic plot.

For while few of us have murdered fathers to avenge, and not so many adulterous

mothers to shame us, there will be hardly a man in any audience to whom that word

madness, in some one of its meanings, has not at one time or another come dreadfully


[Gertrude] is shown sensually in love with Claudius, and seductive enough to make him

commit murder for her sake. This shows Gertrude as a vixen and suggests that she is

the reason that Claudius commited murder.

Hamlet rages at her no more. But the compassion stirred in him soon hardens to irony.

He has, she tells him, cleft her heart in twain. His O, throw away the worser part of it,/

And live the purer with the other half… only preludes the Good-night; but go not to mine

uncles bed;/ Assume a virtue if you have it not…. Hamlet is talking to Gertrude in

her chambers after the play and is informing her that she is a sinful and lustful

woman. This is when he suddenly feels a sense of passion for her.

2. Explaination of Gertrudes Character: Gertrude, Hamlets mother, is one of the

most crucial characters in the play because she is the focus of the love and/or anger of the

trio of men who have been or are in contention for Denmarks throne–Hamlets father,

Claudius, and Hamlet himself.

In [Shakespeares] timeless version, Gertrude is less aware of any wrongdoing. She is

more of an innocent sex object manipulated by her husband and son and frustrated by her

desire to love and please both of them.

The Ghosts Obsession with Gertrude: Before he disappears, he returns to the topic

of Gertrudes sexual misdeed, but again admonishes Hamlet to leave her to heaven. The

ghosts second appearance to Hamlet is prompted by the need for further defense of

Gertrude. Hamlets resolution when he is preparing to visit his mothers

bedchamber…seems to be failing. His frezied attack on Gertrude gains verbal force and

violence until the ghost intervenes. Hamlet shares the ghosts obsession with Gertrudes

sexuality, but is dissipating the energy that should be directed toward avenging his fathers

murder in attacking Gertrude…The ghost intervene to …command Hamlet to protect

Gertrude, to step between her and her fighting soul.

Gertrude (cont.): Hamlets violent emotions toward his mother are obvious from his

first soliloquy, in which twenty-three of the thirty-one lines express his anger and disgust

at what he perceives to be Gertrudes weakness, insensitivity, and, most important,


Claudius speaks respectfully of Gertrude throughout the play. His toleration for

Hamlets extraordinary behavior is for his love for Gertrude.

Gertrudes attractiveness for Claudius is one of the causes [for obsession]–and his sexual

posession of her is one of the results–of the murder of old Hamlet. Although he clearly

loves her-he shares the Hamlets conception of Gertrude as an object. She is posessed

as one of the effects of his actions. Though he loves her so, he will not stop her from

drinking the poisoned wine, which asks many questions for his self-restraint.

She is repeatedly ordered off by Claudius, which he does both to protect her from the

discovery of his guilt and to confer with her priavtely about how to deal with Hamlet.

Guilt of Gertrude: When speaking to Hamlet, the ghost does not state or suggest

Gertrudes guilt in the murder

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