Gertrude was the Queen of Denmark, the widow of the former king and Hamlet’s mother

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Gertrude is the Queen of Denmark( I.ii. 67), the widow of the former king and Hamlet’s mother. She is a devoted mother and an affectionate and obedient wife, yet she is described as a libidinous sinner by Hamlet and the ghost simply because she remarries after her first husband’s death(II.ii.). She tries to encourage Hamlet to do what Claudius suggests, but Hamlet reacts hysterically (III.iv.). His accusations are unfounded because Gertrude may be guilty of nothing more serious than marrying Claudius. The king describes her as “our sometime sister, now our queen“. She appears with her new husband, the king, as he justifies their marriage to the court. Gertrude tells Hamlet that her material or sexual conduct is none of his business and agrees to forgo any further physical relationship with Claudius. Gertrude allows Hamlet to project a guilt and shame into her that had previously been absent, or at the very least repressed. And where does Hamlet obtain the testimony Queen Gertrude is nice enough to offer her own napkin to her son, to wipe his “brow”. However, she then drinks out of the cup intended for Hamlet(V.ii.298). Not only is this unwise, it would also seem to be a bit rude. Perhaps she is nervous. Perhaps she is truly concerned for her son’s welfare. Perhaps Gertrude is weak, because she hasn’t the courage to defy her husband, sign, of the patriarchal authority in Elizabethan society, and sanctify she as victim of male arrogance. In Gertrude’s case, it’s probably right: everything she says expresses her concern for her husband and her son.
 
 

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