Hamlet Problem Essay

897 Words Feb 9th, 2006 4 Pages
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Why did Gertrude Marry Claudius?

Claudius classified his marriage to Gertrude as an "equal scale weighing delight and dole" (1.2.12). However, the audience of William Shakespeare's play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has a hard time comprehending exactly what drove Gertrude to her hasty marriage a mere two months after the death of her husband. Character analysis along with evidence taken from the play makes the answer obvious. Gertrude married Claudius because she needed a powerful man to control her life. After King Hamlet died, Claudius took advantage of Gertrude's grief and became that man.

Authoritative men easily dominated Gertrude. Thus, she became reliant on them to
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Gertrude is also used by Claudius in the sense that he only married her in order to be crowned King. After Laertes returns to France and Polonius is killed, Ophelia is left without commanders to narrate her activities. Ophelia obviously does not cope with freedom well. Almost instantly after losing her father, Ophelia becomes insane and then "she willfully seeks her own salvation" (5.1.1-2). After King Hamlet's death, Gertrude too was left to fend for herself. Ophelia failed without male domination and thus Gertrude remarried to avoid similar fiasco.

Amidst her grief and emotional despair from King Hamlet's death, Gertrude was easily seduced into matrimony with Claudius. Claudius elucidates that Gertrude's "mirth in funeral" was interchanged "with dirge in marriage" (1.2.12). However, the audience is aware of Claudius' controlling behavior which is seen most prominently when he teases Hamlet in act one for "[persevering]/In obstinate condolement" (1.2.93). Claudius warns Hamlet that he is exhibiting "unmanly grief" (1.2.94). Between Claudius' demanding spirit and Gertrude's obeying personality, Claudius easily convinced Gertrude to marry him.

Some might claim that Gertrude married Claudius because they were secretly having an affair before the death of King Hamlet. However evidence for the play proves otherwise. From Hamlet's speech in act one, the audience gets a feel for how much King Hamlet and Gertrude were in

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