Hamlet’s Mother

An analysis of Gertrude’s role in the elder Hamlet’s death in William Shakespeare’s `Hamlet`.

This paper discusses how William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is the timeless revenge tragedy of young Hamlet trying to avenge his murdered father. It looks at how many other subplots or hinted subplots are mentioned throughout the text and how one of these involves Gertrude, the mother of Hamlet, and her role in the elder Hamlet’s death. It examines how some say that Gertrude’s only faults in the play are marrying too quickly and too incestuously, while others argue that she had some or all of the knowledge of her husband’s death. It attempts to show how, throughout the play, Gertrude seems very suspicious and how she does, indeed, have some knowledge of her late husband’s murder.
From the beginning of the play, the reader becomes aware that something is not right with Gertrude’s emotions. Clearly, she seemed to have loved the elder Hamlet before his death. Shakespeare even describes young Hamlet saying that Gertrude would hang on [elder Hamlet] as if increase of appetite had grown by what it fed on (1.2.144-146). In this passage, Gertrude seems as if she could not live without the man. Yet she marries her brother-in-law Claudius within a month of elder Hamlet’s death. The question of her love for her dead husband has to be brought up when she marries his own brother! Also within months of elder Hamlet’s death, she remarks about the death coldly, all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity(1.2.72-73).