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Look back Act III, Scene 3. This scene has been seen by some critics as crucial to their reading of the play. Using a close examination of this scene as you starting point, discuss the nature of the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude, its dramatic p

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Introduction

Look back Act III, Scene 3. This scene has been seen by some critics as crucial to their reading of the play. Using a close examination of this scene as you starting point, discuss the nature of the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude, its dramatic presentation and its significance in the play as a whole. Act III, Scene 3 has a very dramatic setting, because it is the only time that Gertrude and Hamlet talk together alone. Also it is the first time Hamlet exposing his opinion on Gertrude's marriage to other person. This scene is very similar to the nunnery scene- Gertrude tries to lead Hamlet to tell her something and Polonius hides and eavesdrops on their conversation to report the King. This setting is very significant, because the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is defined with details, even if their relationship is still questionable and unsure. Shakespeare structures Act III Scene 4 as the turning point. Especially Shakespeare's use of dramatic features such as death of Polonius and appearance of ghost are significant. At the same time, the relationship between Gertrude and Hamlet change with the turning point. ...read more.

Middle

Strangely, the ghost was seen by other people, such as Marcellus, soldiers and Horatio in Act1, Scene 1. It suggests two possibilities.- The ghost's evilness or Hamlet's madness. By witnessing her son talking to the air, Gertrude confirms her son's madness and now withdraws her belief and faith. Moreover, the nature of the relationship between them is reversed and Gertrude now pities her son. 'O Hamlet, thou has cleft my heart in twain.' By losing his mother's faith, Hamlet should stand alone against Claudius and his serious lecture and persuasion is fruitless. Furthermore, further recovery of their relationship gets harder. In Act III, Scene 4 and whole play, Hamlet and Gertrude have questionable relationship and their relationship has been criticised many times. The relationship between them is unnatural. With the reference to Act V, Scene 1, the audience is told that Hamlet's age is 30. 'I have been sexton here/ man and boy, thirty years.' Now thirty years old man is instructing his mother what she should do with her husband and is offended by her marriage. Historically, usually the queen was expected to marry with a man to share the power and rule the country. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the play 'Hamlet' is a revenge tragedy, Hamlet can use Gertrude as a tool to achieve is revenge. With Gertrude's unfaith, Hamlet uses her to report to the king ensuring Hamlet's madness as he used Ophelia and Polonius previously. Actually Gertrude tells the king everything and his plan is quite succeeded. Hamlet's speech of 'As kill a king and marry with his brother' has two purposes. One of the purposes is to criticise Gertrude against her misconduct with Claudius and at this moment, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is uncomfortable, because Hamlet chides his mother and causes conflicts. According to the Book of Common Prayer, 'A woman may not marry with her husband's brother'. This setting is based on Henry VIII's unhappy marriage with Catherine Aragon, which is again forbidden by the bible. Moreover, it also suggests such an immoral conduct causes a disastrous downfall. Overall, dramatic entrance of the ghost and death of Polonius brings about consequence reversions and the change of relationship between them. In the play 'Hamlet', Gertrude and Hamlet show their relationship through their language and attitude, which is unstable unnatural, suspicious and oedipal. The nature of their relationship is very important in 'Hamlet', because it determines and emphasises the plot and themes of Hamlet. ...read more.

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