Gertrude

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Gertrude

Hamlet

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About Her

Grew Up… prim and proper. A Danish noblewoman, Gertrude was raised to be as polite and as demure as her rank required. When she came of age, Gertrude wed the future king of Denmark, King Hamlet.

Living… in Elsinore, the seat of the Danish crown. Evil is afoot at the castle, something Gertrude doesn't realize at first, but which soon causes her to lament, “One woe doth tread upon another’s heels.” Part of these troubles could be because after King Hamlet's sudden death, Gertrude married his brother, Claudius, instead of putting her son on the throne. Although his turn of events troubles Hamlet, Gertrude doesn't seem to see anything wrong with the semi-incestuous arrangement.

Profession… Queen of Denmark. However, Gertrude’s duties as a queen are unclear: she has authority, but to what purpose? Her new husband makes important political decisions, but Gertrude seems to have no control over him and no willingness to use her title for political gain. At times, Gertrude seems more loyal to Claudius than she was to her first husband.

Interests… Gertrude’s chief interest is her son's well being. Though others ascribe Hamlet’s moodiness to romantic rejection, she more astutely suspects the real reasons behind Hamlet’s sudden depression, even if she refuses to address them.

Relationship Status… remarried, almost as soon as her husband was buried. Gertrude's speed in remarrying and apparent lack of guilt over her decision create a rift between her and Hamlet, who sees the remarriage as both sinful and an offence to his real father. When Gertrude pleads with her son to stop goading Claudius by saying, “Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended,” Hamlet is quick to retort, “Mother, you have my father much offended.”

Challenge… helping her son become his old self again. Once a merry young man, Hamlet has fallen into despondence and appears to be losing his mind. Gertrude might think that all he needs is cheering up, but before any wounds can heal, Gertrude first make amends for what she has done to hurt Hamlet – something that is likely impossible as long as Gertrude is still married to Claudius.

Personality… caring, reasonable, yet restrained. Gertrude loves Hamlet and worries about her son, but she also seems incapable of doing what would truly make Hamlet happy: leaving Claudius.

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