Cynthia Gravlee writes, “ Hamlet’s Gertrude ia vindicated by Rebecca Smith(“A Heart Cleft in Twain: The Dilemma of Shakespeare’s Gertrude”), who proves that while Gertrude is generally assumed to be conniving and lascivious, her words and actions really delineate her as a “compliant, loving, unimaginative woman whose only concern is pleasing others….”(1981,p.120)
One point incidentally. A woman, when she enters into wedlock, possesses the supreme confidence, that she will be able to mould her man according to her choices. Her expectations in this regard may or may not come true. Gertrude has similar faith. With this backgrounder information one needs to understand and judge the personality of Gertrude.
Gertrude is more to be pitied rather than condemned as vicissitudes in her life are beyond her control. Can two walk together, except they are agreed? In the case in point, the two are mother and son. Hamlet is her antithesis, but nothing wrong in it. Hamlet is a scholar and a philosopher, with an inquisitive mind to find out the deeper meaning of life. In contrast, Gertrude is as worldly. She is proud of the charm of her body and the secular pleasures of her life. She likes to be pampered. She sees her paradise in soft pillows, warm baths, fine clothes and trinkets. Hamlet is internally devastated by her action in marrying his uncle. That too within a short time of his father’s death! The Ghost intervenes to give more disturbing information about her, which upsets Hamlet thoroughly. The death of Gertrude’s husband is a fact. The question that is often posed by the critics is why she marries in a hurry. Hurry from whose point of view? With the death of Hamlet’s father, her Christian marriage vow comes to an end. She is the queen, accustomed to live with supreme comforts of life. She is eager to restore and secure her position. If Claudius marries some other woman, she will