After Hamlet kills her father, she immediately becomes mad. She no longer can function in society like a normal person. At the same time her father has been murdered, Hamlet and Laertes coquiendently are no longer around for her to rely on. The idea that she has no male figure in her life anymore is so overwhelming that it drives her to death.“ I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died” (V,vi,207) The violets here could symbolize the faithfulness that has died with the betrayal of men in her life. Even after her death, she is not respected by these male figures. Hamlet and her brother fight on her grave, making their love for her a competition instead of mourning their loved one.
Gertrude’s death raises a lot of questions because Shakespeare is never absolutely clear in his plays. She takes the poison and when Claudius tells her not to drink it she says "I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me" (V.ii.318) This may be showing an independence and bravery to save her son, but this independence is what kills her in the