Many describe The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark as the most mature and complex play in Shakespeare’s repertoire. Thorough studies and research exist on topics which touch upon numerous diverse facets of Hamlet. The author developed a range of characters which has fascinates thousands of readers and watchers of the play for four centuries. The most studies and discussions concern the protagonist, Hamlet, who finds himself in a particularly difficult situation. However, the protagonist is not the sole person facing a moral crisis in the story. In the Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, is obligated to confront her personal values, by sacrificing her son’s favorable disposition to herself, in order to survive in the situation of which she finds herself a victim.
The greed for power that drives Claudius to assassinate his brother puts both Hamlet and Gertrude into a noticeably hazardous situation. Hamlet being the next successor, and Gertrude being his mother, presented a danger for Claudius; as a king, he would not hesitate to get rid of these two powerful persons in Denmark. Hamlet follows his own path to defending himself. In order to protect herself from Claudius’ malicious attempts to completely secure his authority in the kingdom, Gertrude makes up an air of a loyal and loving wife to Claudius. Shakespeare draws a clear line of thought about the new King’s readiness to take any sort of action necessary to free him of those who jeopardize his authority on the throne. After sending Hamlet to England, Claudius admits directly to the audience: “thou mayst not coldly set/ Our sovereign process, which imports at full,/ By letters congruing to that effect,/ The present death of Hamlet." The King plainly plans for an assassination for Hamlet. That gives the readers evidence that, if needed, that person would not hesitate to terminate a similar procedure for his new wife. Realizing this temperament of the late husband’s murderer, Gertrude marries him shortly after the late Hamlet’s death.
Gertrude’s decision to marry her brother-in-law allows for great controversy among her surrounding society. Most importantly, this movement hurt her son Hamlet. Gertrude’s unsafe situation made her go against the society’s rules and quarrel viciously with her child. Had Claudius not killed his brother, Hamlet’s moral state would have been more stable. Gertrude would not have had the burden of her sins against Hamlet and herself. During the famous scene in bedroom where Hamlet shares his feelings with her, the mother begs: “O Hamlet, speak no more:/ Thou turn’st my eyes into my <very> soul,/ And there I see such black and <grained> spots/ As will <not> leave their tinct (Act III, scene iv, lines 99-102)." Both Hamlet and Gertrude experience extreme pain from their situation. Claudius puts their lives into jeopardy. In the end of the play, both lives end from the hand, directly or not, of Claudius.
Until Hamlet speaks with his mother about his feelings directly, Gertrude sincerely does not realize her guilt in hurting her son. In act III, Hamlet meets with his mother in a hot-blooded discussion of their altered relationship. The words of Gertrude show her remorse for her past actions: “O speak to me no more;/ these words like daggars enter my ears;/ No more, sweet Hamlet! (Act III, scene iv, lines 107-109)." These lines present no clear evidence of Gertrude’s awareness of her son’s suffering and the unrighteousness of her previous actions. Additionally, Shakespeare does not portray the woman as deceiving or hypocritical anywhere in the play. During her last moments, Gertrude says: “O, my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poisoned (Act 5, scene ii, lines 340-1)." She loves her son throughout her life, until the very end. We cannot justly blame Gertrude for her actions by building reasoning on the consequences of her behavior without considering her possible feelings.
Hamlet is, arguably, the most complex, the most controversial creation of Shakespeare. There are numerous interpretations to its text. Some lie in questions about the doubtful existence of Hamlet’s madness or its origins. Many clues about the young man’s behavior lead to that of his mother’s. Many readers interpret Gertrude’s actions as lustful, greedy, ignorant, or egotistic. However, there is not a single interpretation of Shakespeare’s works, and especially – Hamlet. It is important to consider each person’s possible thoughts and feelings which precede certain decisions they make. In Gertrude’s case, it may have been her wish to go into a marriage with Claudius soon after her dead husband’s death. Although an argument can be made otherwise, Gertrude could have been a victim of an unlucky situation, which led her to anger her son, put herself into unpleasant positions, and cause trouble in Denmark. The Tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark is a smart construction of a web of misfortunes in all the characters’ lives. The kingdom of Denmark goes through a great struggle to come to a double-sided end: there is a tragedy in the face of multiple deaths. However, the most mature play of Shakespeare’s ends in a happy mood, as well, through the creation of a prospective into a new life in Denmark, a life under the rule of Fortinbras.