Hamlet Essay

May 16, 2008
By Micaela McLaughlin, Braintree, MA

In the play Hamlet, Gertrude, in my opinion, has no idea about Claudius murdering King Hamlet. She’s just an innocent bystander in the whole thing. One reason why I think Gertrude has no idea about the murder is when Hamlet put on the play to try and catch Claudius she is shocked and confused when Claudius got up and left. Another reason is when she married Claudius so soon after King Hamlet’s death it was because she was mourning and vulnerable and Claudius was there for her. Also, she thinks there is something wrong with Hamlet and that’s why he’s acting crazy. She only goes along with sending Hamlet to England because she thinks it will help him and make him better.

Hamlet decided to put on a play that acts out someone killing the king with ear poison and taking his place and marrying his wife. He does this in trying to see what Claudius’ reaction is going to be. If there is no reaction then Hamlet would have to think of another plan to try and catch him. But during the play Claudius got up and left once the plot of the play was revealed. This showed Hamlet that Claudius was guilty. When this happened Gertrude was surprised and confused as to why Claudius got angry and left. After that happened Gertrude wanted to meet with Hamlet and talk o him about what he was doing. Also if Gertrude knew about Claudius’ plan she would’ve acted the same way he did when he wanted the lights to be turned on. But this is just one of the examples that show Gertrude is just an innocent bystander and really has no idea about what is going on.

Another reason why Gertrude is innocent is that when she married Claudius it was only because he was there for her when she was mourning King Hamlet’s death. He was there to comfort her and she was sad and vulnerable so she let him. Also it was probably part of Claudius’ plan to take King Hamlet’s place as king. If he married Gertrude then that would make him king and he’ll have what he wanted all along. Gertrude was also worried what would happen if she no longer held the throne. Hamlet would’ve been the next in line for the throne but she was worried she would lose a great deal of power in Denmark. Since Claudius came up with the plan to kill King Hamlet he probably already thought about the fact that Gertrude would be worried about her power. So once she was over the first shock of the death, Claudius began to seduce her and make her think she would be forgotten as queen. So she decided to marry Claudius because she would do anything to keep the throne.

When Hamlet is acting crazy and puts on the play and accuses Claudius, Gertrude just thinks that there is really something wrong with him and she’s just concerned for his health. That’s the only reason she goes along with sending him to England. She really has no idea about Claudius’ plan to have him killed once he gets there. If she knew about that I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t have agreed to let him go. Also she had to go along with Claudius’ plan because he was her new husband and she didn’t want to defy him.

These are just a few examples that could be argued as reasons why Gertrude is innocent and doesn’t know about Claudius’ plan to kill King Hamlet. There are many more arguments that could be made in Gertrude’s defense but these are the main ones that I thought were most important.

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