Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by Line
(5/25/2003 6:49 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Claudius and Gertrude and King Hamlet, penned by Cheryl
] What an interesting pair. There must be a very strong sexual attraction at work here, much as Hamlet would like to deny it ("for at your age, the heyday in the blood is tame" snort!), it is obviously there. Why else would Gertrude have married again so very quickly? Does she love Claudius or is she just in sexual thrall to him? And did they have an affair while King Hamlet was still alive? The Ghost calls Claudius "that incestuous, that adulterate beast". Does this suggest the relationship predated the murder? And offered one of the motives for committing it? And so then, must Gertrude bear some responsibility as well?
Just what I was thinking about myself, but from the opposite point of view: I was wondering how Claudius really feels about Gertrude, apart from the obvious political advantage of marrying the queen. I think he does genuinely care for her (as much as he can - I wouldn't like to bet on her safety if it came to a decision between her welfare and his!) When he is trying to pray, he names her as one of the three things his evil-doing has gained him that he is frankly unwilling to give up. I don't think they had an affair while Hamlet Sr. was still alive: we have Hamlet (Jr's) own testimony that his mother loved his father and was faithful to him while he was alive, which made it all the more shocking when she remarried so soon after his death. However, I imagine that Gertrude and Claudius always got along very well through the years - I can just picture her telling her husband how amusing his brother is!
Re her quick remarriage: I know that before the Victorian era, people often did remarry quite quickly after a spouse's death (no year of mourning for them!), though two months is obviously pushing it. In most cases I've read about, though, it was the *man* who remarried so quickly - comparatively speaking, women were supposed to stay faithful to the memory of the dead loved one longer (good old double standard!).
Hamlet Group Read is maintained by Laraine with WebBBS 3.21.