Relationship of Hamlet and Gertrude

In the Shakespearean play Hamlet, the conflict between Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude, is parallel to the main conflict of the story. Hamlet is motivated to avenge by the ghost after he is upset when Gertrude marries Claudius. Hamlet’s view of society, especially women, is also shaped by his mother’s decisions, thus developing his character; Hamlets character is shown as indecisive when he decides to confront his mother. As the play starts, Hamlet is disappointed with his mother’s marriage to Claudius.

He expresses his disagreement by complaining about Gertrude marrying Claudius within two month of his father’s death. In act one of the play, Hamlet says, “O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good, But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue”(1. 2. 156-8). Here Hamlet reveals his discomfort with his mother’s relationship which leads to his wanting to get revenge. But at that point, the Ghost of King Hamlet appears to give him an ultimate purpose of avenging his death.

Through the play, Hamlet works toward accomplishing that goal driven by discomfort toward Gertrude’s relation with Claudius. Hamlet makes social comment about women that are negative in nature. He usually makes those comments to Ophelia, for example when he tells her to go to the “nunnery”. These comments however are fueled by his anger toward his mother. At the beginning of the play he sees Ophelia as a pure woman, but his view changes over time. This is a reflection of his view toward his mother as apparent by Hamlet’s remark about his mother’s relationship with Claudius.

At first Hamlet is not sure about why his mother married Claudius, but he quickly decides that the decision his mother made was based on women’s weak mind. The weakness of women is a social bias of Shakespearean plays. Hamlet decides that he is not going to confront his mother at the beginning of the play, after he sees Claudius feeling guilty about his murder; Hamlet chooses to confront his mother and tell her the truth because he trusts her. Even then his mother does not believe him and thinks he is crazy. This shows that Gertrude is not on Hamlet’s side but on Claudius’s side.

This fuels Hamlet’s anger toward Claudius even more. Also Hamlets change in mind to trust his mother shows his indecisive character, which develops through the play. The relationship between Gertrude and Hamlet is never made completely clear during the play. Hamlet’s dislike of his mother’s relationship with Claudius is very clear however. While Hamlet is motivated to avenge his father’s death by Gertrude’s action, he is uncertain about whether it his completely his mother’s fault as seen by him trusting his mother.

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