AP English and Literature Composition/ 7th Hour
November 18, 2010
Act IV Character Analysis
In Act IV of Hamlet, many character??™s thoughts of Hamlet change greatly. Queen Gertrude may be the most guilty of them all, agreeing to exile her only child to England. Throughout the story, Gertrude didn??™t agree with all of Hamlet??™s actions, however she always defended him like any mother would. But in Act IV, she decides that she has had enough of his nonsense. In this act, Gertrude proves to be a very weak, vulnerable queen and an embarrassed, disappointed mother, due to the fact that she agrees with and obeys all of Claudius??™s thoughts and orders.
Gertrude would have never thought to exile her only son to another country on her own. Claudius devised this plan, and Gertrude being the weak queen that she is agreed to it. Not just in Act IV, but throughout the entire play, Gertrude never once disagrees with Claudius. The true Gertrude showed when she was speaking to Claudius about the death of Polonius. She said, ???O??™er whom his very madness, like some ore/ Among a mineral of metals base,/ Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done. (4.1 25-27)??? She tries to defend Hamlet and his actions, telling him that he was truly sorry for what he did. But shortly after that, she agrees with Claudius about sending him away, although she obviously still cares about him. She is very dependent on Claudius and that is why she repeatedly defends him. Whenever the Danes were revolting and made their way to Claudius, she was the first one to defend him. She said, ???How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!/ O! this counter, you false Danish dogs! (4.5 109-110)??? She was afraid that something would happen to Claudius and she would actually have to make important decisions on her own. It is never known if Gertrude actually knows that Claudius killed her first husband, but if she actually did, that just further proves the point that she needs somebody to rely on, no matter who that person is.
Gertrude??™s feelings toward Hamlet take a complete turn during Act IV, and she ends up thinking that she would be better off without him. These were not her original thoughts, but after being persuaded by Claudius, like she often is, she decides that exiling him to another country would be best. Gertrude proves to be a very weak woman, much less a queen, by making very few, if any, decisions on her own.