We accept

Ophelia and Gertrude Essay

Keywords: gertrude and ophelia, ophelia and getrude hamlet

The traditional and world-renowned Shakespearean play Hamlet has two very dominant and important feminine characters as the key assignments, Ophelia and Gertrude. Concerning a surprise, they are really similar in many ways. This article will notify the reader about their similarities or likeness.

It is quite apparent that both Gertrude and Ophelia are both encouraged by love and a desire for quiet familial tranquility among the members of their culture in Elsinore. Out of love on her behalf son does Gertrude recommend:

Dear Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,

And let thine eyesight look like a pal on Denmark.

Do not for ever with thy vailed lids

Seek for thy commendable dad in the dirt. (1. 2)

Likewise does she ask that the prince continue to be with the family: "Let not thy mom lose her prayers, Hamlet, / I pray thee stick with us, go never to Wittenberg. " Later, when the hero's expected "madness" is the big concern, Gertrude lovingly edges with her partner in the examination of her son's condition: "I suspect it is no other but the main, / His father's fatality and our o'erhasty matrimony. " She confides her family-supporting thoughts to Ophelia: "And then for your part, Ophelia, I really do wish / That your good beauties be the happy cause / Of Hamlet's wildness, " therefore wanting to keep a relationship with the young lady of the court, even although latter is of a lesser social stratum. When Claudius demands of Gertrude, "Sweet Gertrude, leave us too; / For we've closely sent for Hamlet hither, " Gertrude responds submissively, "I shall obey you. "

Familial love is first among Gertrude's priorities. When, at the display on the Mousetrap, she makes a submission of her child, "Come hither, my dear Hamlet, stay by me, " and he spurns her to rest at Ophelia's feet, Gertrude is not offended; her commitment to family overrides such slights. She considers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be friends of her child, and limited to that reason delivers them to find out about him; she'd never use them as Claudius later does so that they can murder Hamlet. And even at this time of her fatality, her last words include, "O my dear Hamlet. " Yes, Gertrude is pro-family.

Ophelia manifest great familial affection

In similar fashion will Ophelia manifest great familial devotion, agreeing to comply with the advice of her sibling Laertes: "I will the effect of this good lessons keep / As watchman to my center. " When her dad, Polonius, makes inquiry about the "private time" which Hamlet has been providing to Ophelia, she replies unreservedly, "He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders / Of his devotion to me, " and elaborates mightily on the subject. Polonius insists that she "out of this time forth" not "give words or talk to god, the father Hamlet, " and Ophelia dutifully complies with his wants: "I will obey, my lord. " She later even offers him her love-letters from Hamlet. When she works as a decoy so that Polonius and Claudius can take notice of the prince, leading to Ophelia's chastisement by the protagonist, she nevertheless continues him as the main concentrate in her life: "O, what a noble mind is here now o'erthrown!" Her love for sibling, father, boyfriend, while others generally, override her love of home. Her respect for the opinions of immediate family is greater than her respect on her behalf own viewpoints even when it concerns her courtship.

Bonds of family and friends

Another similarity between both of these lady-characters is that they have problems with a severing of the bonds of relatives and buddies. Gertrude is displeased with Hamlet when, with The Mousetrap, he upsets King Claudius: Guildenstern says to Hamlet, "The Queen, your mother, generally in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me for you. " And when the hero matches with his mom, her matter is: "Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended. " Naturally, Gertrude's grief in the king's upset is soon upstaged by her son's killing of Polonius behind the arras: "O me, what hast thou done?" and "O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!" Gertrude, unacquainted with Claudius' murder of Ruler Hamlet, probes the prince for the cause of the disruption within him: "What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue / In noise so rude against me?" and "Ay me, what act, / That roars so loud and thunders in the index?" Even when Hamlet has afflicted his mother's spirit with great distress, she still tries to preserve the mother-son romantic relationship by referring to him as "sweet": "O speak to me forget about! / These words like daggers enter in my ears. / Forget about, nice Hamlet!" Even after Hamlet has done considerable emotional damage ("O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my center in twain. ") Gertrude still will try to keep the familial connection from being totally severed by requesting "What shall I really do?" and by not exposing to Claudius that her kid mistook Polonius for his uncle.

Similarly, Ophelia suffers from the severing of the bonds of family and friends. She actually is traumatized by Hamlet's visit after the ghost's appearance, when he has assumed the "antic disposition, " with "his doublet all unbraced; / No head wear upon his head; his stockings foul'd, " and other aspects which make him appear as one "loosed out of hell. " Frank Kermode says that "antic disposition" is a foil to Ophelia's approaching madness (1137). Polonius asks, "Mad for thy love?" and Ophelia responds, "My lord, I do not know; / But truly, I do fear it. " This is a time of uncertainty on her behalf, for she's invested herself greatly in "the love for Hamlet, and her filial love" (Coleridge 353). When she later agrees to be a lure for Hamlet so that her daddy and the ruler can research his conduct in her existence, she feels the entire lack of the prince's love for her:

"Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be considered a breeder of sinners? [. . . ] We could arrant knaves all; believe that none folks. Go thy ways to a nunnery. " The severance of the ties with Hamlet cause her to pray for help: "O, help him, you sweet heavens!" and "O heavenly powers, restore him!" and "O, woe is me, / To have seen what I have seen, see what I see!" Later, as the Mousetrap begins, Ophelia quickly consents ("Lady, shall I lay in your lap?") to Hamlet's relaxing his head on her lap: "Ay, my lord, " hoping to somewhat repair a dying relationship combined with the hero's sanity. And she can't be too agreeable in her attempts with him: "You are as good as a chorus, my lord, " and "You are willing, my lord, you are willing. "

Male influences

Both Ophelia and Gertrude are victimized by male affects in the play. Ophelia is interfered with in her love-life by her sibling Laertes, her father Polonius and by Hamlet himself. She actually is presented "almost entirely as a victim" (Boklund 123). Gertrude is intruded upon in her romantic relationship with Claudius - by Hamlet, by Laertes and by Claudius. The rejection of Ophelia by the prince, in addition to the loss of her dad at Hamlet's hands, brings about madness in Ophelia, and later indirectly her death. The devious machinations of Laertes and Claudius effect the accidental death of Queen Gertrude, who imbibes the poisoned glass.


Both Ophelia and Gertrude die incidental, unostentatious deaths of no special instant. Hamlet's fatality and royal burial by Fortinbras is at sharp distinction to the passing of these females. Ophelia's demise is publicized by the queen: "One woe doth tread upon another's heel, / So fast they follow; your sister's drown'd, Laertes. " That Laertes should react with the question, "Drown'd! O, where?" seems out of place, since the most rational question from someone you care about would be, "How?" or "Why?" The queen replies that "her apparel, heavy with the drink, / Pull'd the indegent wretch from her melodious lay down / To muddy loss of life. " Laertes says briefly, "Alas, then, she is drown'd?" and the queen even more quickly, "Drown'd, drown'd. " Before reaction of Laertes and Hamlet in the grave, Ophelia's passing seems to go almost unnoticed. Similarly, when Queen Gertrude later drinks from the poisoned cup on the occasion of the Laertes-Hamlet contest of foils, she encounters a quick, calm fatality: "No, no, the drink, the drink, --O my dear Hamlet, -- / The drink, the drink! I am poison'd. " And there is no more to the problem, possibly because everybody else is dying at the same time.

Another experience which both Ophelia and Gertrude have as a common factor is they are both attacked verbally by Hamlet. If the prince suspects that Ophelia is a lure (Coleridge 362), he lambasts her with: "Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for smart men know well enough what monsters you label of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell. "

The Queen

The queen also bears the brunt of Hamlet's melancholic feelings. After the "play within a play" Gertrude asks to see her son, who comes immediately - however, not in a good humor. At one point he is so ambitious that she feels perhaps he is heading to murder her: "A bloody deed! Almost as bad, good mom, /As eliminate a ruler and marry with his brother. " This alarms the queen, who blurts out, "As get rid of a king!" in her appalled state of mind, shortly followed by "What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue/In sound so rude against me?" Hamlet leaves the queen in an emotionally put in condition: "I've no life to breathe / What thou hast thought to me. "

Both Ophelia and Gertrude possess complex temperament and inspiration, thus specify as round, not smooth or two-dimensional, people (Abrams 33). Also both women have a delicacy about them. In identification of this delicacy, the ghost asks the protagonist to disregard revenge on Gertrude: "Taint not thy head, nor let thy heart contrive / Against thy mother aught. " Ophelia's delicacy is revealed in the looks of her insanity and later death resulting from the increased loss of her father and the passion of her boyfriend.


Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Conditions. 7th ed. NY: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.

Boklund, Gunnar. "Hamlet. " Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Burton, Philip. "Hamlet. " The Sole Voice. New York: The Dial Press, 1970. N. pag. http://www. freehomepages. com/hamlet/other/burton-hamlet. htm

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Lectures and Notes on Shakspere and also other British Poets. London : George Bell and Sons, 1904. p. 342-368. http://ds. dial. pipex. com/thomas_larque/ham1-col. htm

Kermode, Frank. "Hamlet. " The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. , 1974.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. http://www. chemicool. com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full. html No line nos.

More than 7 000 students trust us to do their work
90% of customers place more than 5 orders with us
Special price $5 /page
Check the price
for your assignment