To a great extent, Hamlet's problems are related to the doubts that arouse inside him about the alleged involvement of Gertrude in King Hamlet's murder and her hasty engagement to Claudius. For this reason, Gertrude has been usually seen as an unfaithful and shallow character, who betrays her husband and do not hesitate to marry Claudius, shortly afterwards widowing.
This is an extremely simplistic analysis of Gertrude's character, another product of the male chauvinism. She has been frequently presented as an ambiguous figure as it is not clear if she has something to do with her husband's murderer and if her relationship with Claudius occurred before King Hamlet's death. It is never clarified and, in fact, it is suggested in the first act, when the ghost of King Hamlet appears and says 'Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast' (Act I, Scene V) (in Shakespeare's days, marrying the brother of your husband was considered incest).
Whether she is guilty or not, Hamlet remains offended because of her marriage with Claudius, who is presented as the real murderer. After the play staged in the castle of Elsinore, representing exactly the murder of King Hamlet, Claudius bursts out in anger.
When the play ends, Hamlet asks his mother about her opinion, and her answer is extremely disturbing: 'The lady protests too much, methink' and then Hamlet answers 'O, but she'll keep her word' (Act III, Scene II). Another sign that shows Hamlet's doubts about the innocence of his mother can be found in the words: 'A bloody deed!- almost as bad, good mother, as kill a king and marry with his brother' (Act III; Scene IV). Here are two of the multiple signs of Gertrude's coldness and ambiguity and of the contempt Hamlet has for her.
After the play, Gertrude talks to Hamlet and tells him he had offended his father (although Claudius in not his real father), and Hamlet tells her 'Mother, you have my father much offended' (Act III, Scene IV). Then, when they talk in the room Hamlet tells her he will take the truth in front of her eyes, so she will not be able to deny the murder. 'You go not till I set you up a glass where you may see the inmost part of you', and then she thinks Hamlet is going to kill her (Act III, Scene IV).
The relationship between Hamlet and his mother has been often seen as an incestuous relationship. The hatred of Hamlet towards Claudius sometimes seems more like jealousy and, although Gertrude is presented as a cold and ruthless character, she is always worried about his son and his sufferings. Then, the death of his father will be a secret desire of Hamlet himself. This will be a Freudian interpretation, comparing Gertrude and Hamlet's relation with the one that Oedipus had with his mother Jocasta.
Hamlet seems to despise his mother, grumbling about her attitude, but he also shows some kind of devotion. Gertrude, for her part, is always trying to protect Hamlet from the Claudius' rage ('O my son, what theme' and 'For love of God, forbear him!'. Act V, Scene I) and seems worried when Hamlet is distressed (she sends Guildenstern and Rosencrantz to cheer up hamlet after his father's death 'and I beseech you instantly to visit my too-much-changed son'. Act II, Scene II).
Other interpretations have seen this incest in the marriage of Gertrude with Claudius.
Gertrude has been also presented as a lustful character. 'The usual things male critics and directors have said about Queen