Hamlet Reading Assignment For English 104 - English - Essay

971 words - 4 pages

Zheng 1
Yuki Zheng
Dr. Tom Reedy
College English II
26 April 2018
A Weak, But Brave Woman
Gertrude, at first sight, seems to be the worst, selfish mother and wife ever. She remarries
to her brother-in-law Claudius right after her last husband Old Hamlet just died. Then, after
Hamlet comes back from Wittenberg, she does not care about Hamlet’s feeling and does not
comfort him about Old Hamlet’s death. She seems that she only cares about her throne, indulges
in life of pleasure and lust, and ignores her responsibilities and morality. Hamlet, his father, and
Hamlet’s follower all hate her and feel shameful about her. However, she is weak actually but a
brave woman, who accomplishes extraordinary acts to help her son Hamlet.
Gertrude is in a weak situation as a woman. In ​Hamlet, ​ she is the queen of Denmark. Not
only does she have high status, but she also gets the favour of kings. However, she still cannot
control her own life, for instance, her marriage. ​No matter how much she gains favor from the
king and society, she still dies at the end ​. Claudius does not seem he cares and just says: “She
sounds to see them bleed” to protect his throne ( ​Hamlet​ 5.2.308). Maxwell says that “however
important the part of the Queen in the story of Hamlet, her role in the play is definitely
subordinate” (Montgomery 99). In the beginning of the play, she never contradicts Claudius. She
has independent thoughts associated with Hamlet. Otherwise, she subornates her thoughts to
Claudius’ ideas.
Zheng 2
The play that Hamlet directs also reflects that women’s status is weak (Robert 88).
“Player King: ‘so think thou wilt no second husband wed, / But die thy thoughts when thy first
lord is dead’” shows women change their decisions quite fast ( ​Hamlet ​3.2.220-221). The reason
is they are usually not independent. They have to rely on the male in order to survive. Especially,
when men are contending for power, women get lost in that situation so easily. Then, women
become the deals or sacrifices in men’s political fighting.
Even though Gertrude has weak status, her action is bold, for instance, Gertrude and
Claudius’ marriage. Gertrude gets married to Claudius after her last husband’s death in one
month. This disloyal action is shameful and a public disavowal in the society. However, why
does she do this? Is it because she is too weak to fight against Claudius or she is so ​vainglorious
that she can not leave her “crown?” Hamlet makes many ​complaints against Gertrude in the
novel: “​In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, / Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love
/ Over the nasty sty…” ( ​Hamlet​ 3.4.95-97). ​ These words are absolutely harsh and hurtful
criticism. She responds: “Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul, / And there I see such black
and grained spots/ As will not leave their tinct” ( ​Hamlet ​3.4.90-92). The quote reflects she
regards her sec...

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