Analysis of Hamlet and Gertrude Relationship in Shakespeare’s Tragedy

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About this sample


Words: 770 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

Words: 770|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Dec 3, 2020

William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, is acknowledged as a representation of the inner workings of the human mind and illuminates the internal struggle Hamlet faces following the death of his father. The cause of Hamlet’s conflict is the sudden death of his father, his strained relationship with his mother, and the decisions she makes immediately following the death. In the tragedy of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet’s turbulent relationship with his mother, Gertrude, elucidates that dramatic changes in one’s circumstances can negatively impact one’s psyche. A

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t the beginning of the play, the death of Hamlet’s father leads to Hamlet isolating himself from others and becoming increasingly self-deprecating and cynical. Hamlet’s speech contains self-deprecating language that indicates his many attempts to convince himself to take action. Hamlet chastises himself by declaring himself a “rogue and peasant slave”, signaling that he is upset with his inability to take action or to avenge his father. Hamlet further pins himself down to inaction by berating himself repeatedly. He calls himself a “muddy-mettled rascal” and an unmotivated “John-a-dreams”. Hamlet recognizes that he doesn’t have the courage to seek revenge, so he reinforces that his intentions are merely dreams that will fail because they are based on a false reality.

Additionally, he questions his own ambition emphasizing his inner failure to take action. Hamlet continues his self-deprecation by calling himself “pigeon-livered”, since he has not developed the bravery to take action. Psychologically, Hamlet finds the only way to face his fear is to repeatedly state his weakness. Hamlet calls himself an “ass” for failing to act and then bitterly remarks on how he has been “most brave” neglect his “dear father” who was murdered and whose “dear life” was defeated. Towards the end of his speech, Hamlet recognizes the futility of his thoughts, arguing that he must “like a whore unpack my heart with words”. Hamlet’s sole method of coping with his self-doubt and indecisiveness is through his soliloquies. Hamlet recognizes the existence of a motive in his case, namely the Ghost’s rousing narrative and his mother’s behavior; therefore, Hamlet dreams about fulfilling his function to avenge the death of his father.

While Gertrude initially showed profound grief over King Hamlet’s death, she quickly turned to the comfort of others in order to find solace. Hamlet finds wherever he turns that people are not as they seem, beginning with his own mother. His sense of justice becomes blurred — and his view of women is distorted because of his feelings about Gertrude. Moreover, his mother’s dejection appears to be the catalyst that turns an expressive young man into a hesitant, reserved man who hides his innermost feelings. The characterization of Gertrude – as sensual and selfish – is provided by Hamlet and the Ghost. Hamlet frequently mentions his mother’s sexuality, and obsesses over her relationship with Claudius, describing their relationship as “incestuous”. The Ghost in addition to Hamlet, cites Gertrude’s licentiousness as the cause of her swift marriage to his brother. Gertrude’s relationship with Claudius defines her character for both her son and deceased husband, and even taints the reader’s perception of her as an effete and lustful individual.

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However, Gertrude does nothing to confirm or deny this judgement. Hamlet and Gertrude both handle their grief in different manners, causing a rift between the two and damaging their formally strong relationship. Hamlet’s feelings about his mother’s betrayal of his father augments the pain he feels. Hamlet directly says to her that she has dishonored the memory of her deceased husband: “Mother, you have my father much offended”. Hamlet’s pent-up resentment and confusion over Gertrude’s actions causes him anguish, which he unleashes upon her after trying to prove Claudius is the murderer. Not only does Hamlet feel betrayed, but he is unable to understand how his mother could abandon her former husband, his father, and he sees her hastiness as a reflection on the weakness of all women: “And yet, within a month / (Let me not think on ‘t, frailty thy name is woman!) /…married with my uncle”. His mother’s “weakness” in marrying Claudius proves to Hamlet that women cannot be trusted. Gertrude’s betrayal and apparent lack of sound judgement confuses Hamlet and causes him great distress. Hamlet is conflicted by the actions of Gertrude because he feels betrayed and does not trust his mother. Hamlet’s sentiments of self-doubt and even animosity create a conflict that makes up an essential part of his distress. Shakespeare displays the inner workings of Hamlet’s mind through Hamlet and Gertrude’s turbulent relationship, as Hamlet comes to terms with the death of his father and Gertrude action’s under their drastically changing circumstances.

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Analysis of Hamlet and Gertrude Relationship in Shakespeare’s Tragedy. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from
“Analysis of Hamlet and Gertrude Relationship in Shakespeare’s Tragedy.” GradesFixer, 10 Dec. 2020,
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