Hamlet by William Shakespeare

May 5, 2008
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Gertrude doesn’t know Claudius’s plot and is an innocent bystander in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. She is completely oblivious to Claudius’s plan and in no way involved in it. The beginning of his plan was to kill his brother who was the king. He succeeded in killing his brother by poisoning him in the ear, and shortly after he murdered him he went on to marry his former sister in law named Gertrude and he took over as the king of Denmark. There is no textual evidence that shows that Gertrude was aware of how her husband died, or even if she knew he was murdered she wouldn’t have known it was Claudius. Although she did marry Claudius very soon after her husband died it did not seem as if she was not giving respect to the old king. She was sad about the tragic loss of the love of her life but she was lonely and needed to move on.
Gertrude’s son Hamlet who is the main character did seem upset with his mother because she was quick to marry and didn’t take enough time to mourn his father’s death who he respected so much. For this reason and others, some would say that Gertrude was involved in Claudius’ conspiracy to take the throne of Denmark, but I don’t believe so. But in the beginning of the play Gertrude says to Hamlet “Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted color off, and let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not forever with thy vailed lids seek for thy noble father in the dust. Thou know’st tis common; and that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.”(1.2.70-75). This passage from the queen shows that she did rather quickly get over the kings death and she wants Hamlet to do so as well.
Gertrude also states that Hamlet must get over his fathers death and stop mourning because everyone dies sooner or later, and they go on to the after life. But she doesn’t reveal that it was his time to go or that he needed to pass on which would make his death surprising and drastic to her, which it did but she realized that life moves on and that she had to get over it so she did by marrying his brother Claudius. She tries to show her son Hamlet that he can’t go back and change anything so he has to continue with life. Gertrude doesn’t show any delight about his death and shouldn’t give the idea to the reader that she was involved with the kings murder.
Throughout the play Claudius talks to himself or to Leartes about his plan and to no one else. Gertrude is never even near Claudius when he is talking about his plans and couldn’t possibly be associated with his plot to ruin her son and his nephew prince Hamlet. The famous ending scene of the play is the fencing fight between Hamlet and Leartes. Claudius and Leartes are the ones who set up the match. Their plan was to poison the tip of Leartes sword so that when he lacerated Hamlet the poison would seep into his blood stream thereby eliminating him. Also when Hamlet got a hit he would drink the wine that Claudius planned to also poison.
If Gertrude knew about this plan of Claudius’ to poison her son then she would know not to drink the poisoned wine. But when Hamlet got a hit she went to drink from the cup, and Claudius tried to stop her but it was too late. Gertrude was unaware of the poison in the cup and unknowingly killed herself. There is no reason to believe that Gertrude knew about the king’s plot, because if she did then wouldn’t you think that Claudius would have told her about the ending of his plan. Those are the reasons that I believe Gertrude wasn’t involved in anyway shape or form of Claudius’ plot to murder his brother to take the throne of Denmark and to finish off his nephew prince Hamlet at the end.





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