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Male/ Female Relationships in Hamlet

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Essay title: Male/ Female Relationships in Hamlet

Male/Female Relationships In Hamlet

Hamlet is involved in intense emotional relationships with both Ophelia and Gertrude, the only two female characters in the play. While these relationships are for the most part very rocky and full of distrust, there is still hope for healthy relationships among men and women. The reasons for how these characters acted is understandable, and their reactions are quite typical.

The relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is one that has been torn apart by Hamlet’s fathers death. Hamlet reacts to the death in a way that he sees most proper, which included wearing his true emotions on his sleeves and letting the world see his anguish and grief. However, Gertrude reacts very differently. She hides her emotions or puts them away for no one to see, for grief and sorrow can be seen as a weakness, and a queen having weakness doesn’t send positive signals to her countrymen, especially in times of war. Still thinking of how to keep the country together she has two options of who should succeed the throne of Denmark. Either her son Hamlet or her brother in law Claudius. She knows her son is in a very delicate state with the death of his father and knows the pressure of leading a country on the brink of war would tear him apart and likely destroy the country. So out of love for her son and country she decides to marry Claudius in hope that he may take this burden off of her son and guide the country through this conflict.

Hamlet on the other hand takes the news of his mothers decision to marry Claudius as any young man would and believes his mother to be dishonoring his father’s good name and her decision to be out of lust. “O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer- married with my uncle, My fathers brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules...O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” Act I, scene II, ll 150-157. This quote epitomizes Hamlet’s bitterness toward his mother, as he pretty much thinks his mother is a heartless being with absolutely no respect for his father and is pretty much a slut. This however, is a very typical feeling that any son or daughter would have after having a father or mother die. Even children who have had parents dead for years always think it is too early to have their parents re-married. But because Gertrude re-married so quickly it doubled Hamlet’s sorrow and developed a sort of rage inside him. It should also be pointed out that Hamlet’s father was no fool, he was an intelligent leader that was loved by all of his people. Therefore we should give Gertrude the benefit of the doubt that what she did was right and Hamlet’s father would never choose a heartless lustful woman as a bride. This may also be why Hamlets father doesn’t seek revenge on Gertrude through Hamlet. He knew there was no way his wife could have known Claudius’ evil deed and he knew she was only making the best decision from what she knew. Had she been everything Hamlet thought she was Hamlet’s father probably would have allowed her to be killed. Gertrude on the other hand, acted more like a ruler rather than a mother. She should have comforted Hamlet and been more of a mother figure rather than being fearful of going against her new husband and king.

Hamlet and his mother remain conflicted throughout the play however, in the end Gertrude sacrificed herself in an attempt to save her son. When Hamlet defeats Laertes in the first portion of the duel, Claudius fears Laertes will become unsuccessful in his assassination attempt. Therefore to provide and insurance on it he poisons a cup of wine and offers it to Hamlet in congratulation. Gertrude sensing something was not right took the cup of wine before Claudius was able to give it to Hamlet, and drank. This proved Gertrude’s devotion and love for her son, knowing the cup was poisoned she willingly sacrificed herself so that her son may live. In the end it is no matter because Hamlet is killed anyway, however it had an even deeper significance. It could be seen that Gertrude’s life was a waste seeing as Hamlet was killed anyway, however, it was because of her self sacrifice that Hamlet was finally able to have his vengeance on Claudius as his father had requested. It was because of this sacrifice that Hamlet was able to send Claudius to hell because he was in the middle of a terrible sin, a sin that ended up taking the life of three others. Gertrude had also finally discovered Claudius’s wickedness when she sensed the cup was poisoned and in the attempt to save Hamlet’s life she was also hoping to save the fate

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