Ophelia and Gertrude

The classical and world-renowned Shakespearean drama Hamlet has two really outstanding and of import female characters as the chief functions, Ophelia and Gertrude. As to a surprise, they are similar in many ways. This essay will inform the reader about their similarities or similitude.

It is rather obvious that both Gertrude and Ophelia are both motivated by love and a desire for quiet familial harmoniousness among the members of their society in Elsinore. Out of love for her boy does Gertrude advise:

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Dear Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,

And allow thine oculus expression like a friend on Denmark.

Do non for of all time with thy vailed palpebras

Seek for thy baronial male parent in the dust. ( 1.2 )

Similarly does she inquire that the prince remain with the household: “Let non thy female parent lose her supplications, Hamlet, / I pray thee stay with us, travel non to Wittenberg.” Later, when the hero ‘s supposed “madness” is the large concern, Gertrude fondly sides with her hubby in the analysis of her boy ‘s status: “I uncertainty it is no other but the chief, / His male parent ‘s decease and our o’erhasty marriage.” She confides her family-supporting ideas to Ophelia: “And for your portion, Ophelia, I do wish / That your good beauties be the happy cause / Of Hamlet ‘s abandon, ” thereby trying to maintain a loving relationship with the immature lady of the tribunal, even though the latter is of a lower societal stratum. When Claudius petitions of Gertrude, “Sweet Gertrude, leave us excessively ; / For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither, ” Gertrude responds deferentially, “I shall obey you.”

Familial love is first among Gertrude ‘s precedences. When, at the presentation of The Mousetrap, she makes a petition of her boy, “Come hither, my beloved Hamlet, sit by me, ” and he spurns her to lie at Ophelia ‘s pess, Gertrude is non offended ; her trueness to household overrides such rebuffs. She considers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be friends of her boy, and merely for that ground sends them to larn about him ; she would ne’er utilize them as Claudius subsequently does in an effort to slay Hamlet. And even at the minute of her decease, her last words include, “O my beloved Hamlet.” Yes, Gertrude is pro-family.

Ophelia manifest great familial fondness

In similar manner does Ophelia manifest great familial fondness, holding to follow with the advice of her brother Laertes: “I shall the consequence of this good lesson maintain / As watcher to my heart.” When her male parent, Polonius, makes enquiry sing the “private time” which Hamlet has been giving to Ophelia, she replies unreservedly, “He hath, my Godhead, of late made many stamps / Of his fondness to me, ” and elaborates mightily on the topic. Polonius insists that she “from this clip forth” non “give words or speak with the Lord Hamlet, ” and Ophelia dutifully complies with his wants: “I shall obey, my lord.” She subsequently even gives him her love-letters from Hamlet. When she acts as a steerer so that Polonius and Claudius can detect the prince, ensuing in Ophelia ‘s castigation by the supporter, she however keeps him as the chief focal point in her life: “O, what a baronial head is here o’erthrown! ” Her love for brother, male parent, fellow, and others by and large, override her love of ego. Her regard for the sentiments of immediate household is greater than her regard for her ain sentiments even in the affair of her wooing.

Chemical bonds of household and friends

Another similarity between these two lady-characters is that they suffer from a severance of the bonds of household and friends. Gertrude is displeased with Hamlet when, with The Mousetrap, he upsets King Claudius: Guildenstern says to Hamlet, “The Queen, your female parent, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.” And when the hero meets with his female parent, her concern is: “Hamlet, 1000 hast thy father much offended.” Of class, Gertrude ‘s heartache over the male monarch ‘s disturbance is shortly upstaged by her boy ‘s violent death of Polonius behind the tapestries: “O me, what hast 1000 done? ” and “O, what a roseola and bloody title is this! ” Gertrude, unaware of Claudius ‘ slaying of King Hamlet, probes the prince for the cause of the perturbation within him: “What have I done, that thou dar’st wit thy lingua / In noise so ill-mannered against me? ” and “Ay me, what act, / That roars so loud and booms in the index? ” Even when Hamlet has afflicted his female parent ‘s psyche with great hurt, she still tries to continue the mother-son relationship by mentioning to him as “sweet” : “O speak to me no more! / These words like stickers enter in my ears. / No more, sweet Hamlet! ” Even after Hamlet has done considerable emotional harm ( “O Hamlet, 1000 hast cleft my bosom in twain.” ) Gertrude still tries to maintain the familial bond from being wholly severed by inquiring “What shall I make? ” and by non uncovering to Claudius that her boy mistook Polonius for his uncle.

Similarly, Ophelia suffers from the severance of the bonds of household and friends. She is traumatized by Hamlet ‘s visit after the shade ‘s visual aspect, when he has assumed the “antic temperament, ” with “his doublet all unbraced ; / No chapeau upon his caput ; his stockings foul ‘d, ” and other facets which make him look as one “loosed out of hell.” Frank Kermode says that this “antic disposition” is a foil to Ophelia ‘s coming lunacy ( 1137 ) . Polonius asks, “Mad for thy love? ” and Ophelia responds, “My Godhead, I do non cognize ; / But genuinely, I do fear it.” This is a clip of uncertainness for her, for she has invested herself to a great extent in “the love for Hamlet, and her filial love” ( Coleridge 353 ) . When she subsequently agrees to be a enticement for Hamlet so that her male parent and the male monarch can analyze his behavior in her presence, she feels the full loss of the prince ‘s fondness for her:

“Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst 1000 be a breeder of evildoers? [ . . . ] We are complete rogues all ; believe none of us. Travel thy ways to a nunnery.” The rupture of the ties with Hamlet do her to pray for aid: “O, aid him, you sweet celestial spheres! ” and “O heavenly powers, restore him! ” and “O, suffering is me, / To hold seen what I have seen, see what I see! ” Subsequently, as the Mousetrap begins, Ophelia readily consents ( “Lady, shall I lie in your lap? ” ) to Hamlet ‘s resting his caput on her lap: “Ay, my Godhead, ” trusting to somewhat reconstruct a deceasing relationship along with the hero ‘s saneness. And she can non be excessively agreeable in her attempts with him: “You are every bit good as a chorus, my Godhead, ” and “You are acute, my Godhead, you are keen.”

Male influences

Both Ophelia and Gertrude are victimized by male influences in the drama. Ophelia is interfered with in her love-life by her brother Laertes, her male parent Polonius and by Hamlet himself. She is presented “almost wholly as a victim” ( Boklund 123 ) .Gertrude is intruded upon in her relationship with Claudius – by Hamlet, by Laertes and by Claudius. The rejection of Ophelia by the prince, plus the loss of her male parent at Hamlet ‘s custodies, brings about lunacy in Ophelia, and subsequently indirectly her decease. The oblique intrigues of Laertes and Claudius consequence the inadvertent decease of Queen Gertrude, who imbibes the poisoned cup.


Both Ophelia and Gertrude die minor expense, unpretentious deceases of no particular minute. Hamlet ‘s decease and royal entombment by Fortinbras is in crisp contrast to the passing of these ladies. Ophelia ‘s death is publicized by the queen: “One suffering doth tread upon another ‘s heel, / So fast they follow ; your sister ‘s drown ‘d, Laertes.” That Laertes should react with the inquiry, “Drown ‘d! O, where? ” seems out of topographic point, since the most logical inquiry from a loved one would be, “How? ” or “Why? ” The queen answers that “her garments, heavy with their drink, / Pull ‘d the hapless wretch from her tuneful ballad / To muddy death.” Laertes says briefly, “Alas, so, she is drown ‘d? ” and the queen even more briefly, “Drown ‘d, drown’d.” Until the reaction of Laertes and Hamlet in the grave, Ophelia ‘s passing seems to travel about unnoticed. Likewise, when Queen Gertrude subsequently drinks from the poisoned cup on the juncture of the Laertes-Hamlet competition of foils, she experiences a speedy, quiet decease: “No, no, the drink, the drink, — O my beloved Hamlet, — / The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.” And there is no more to the affair, perchance because everyone else is deceasing at the same clip.

Another experience which both Ophelia and Gertrude have in common is that they are both attacked verbally by Hamlet. When the prince suspects that Ophelia is a enticement ( Coleridge 362 ) , he lambasts her with: “Or, if thou wilt demands marry, marry a sap ; for wise work forces know good plenty what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, travel, and rapidly excessively. Farewell.”

The Queen

The queen besides bears the brunt of Hamlet ‘s melancholy temper. After the “play within a play” Gertrude asks to see her boy, who comes instantly – but non in a good wit. At one point he is so aggressive that she thinks possibly he is traveling to slay her: “A bloody title! Almost as bad, good female parent, /As kill a male monarch and marry with his brother.” This alarms the queen, who blurts out, “As kill a male monarch! ” in her aghast mental province, shortly followed by “What have I done, that thou dar’st wit thy tongue/In noise so ill-mannered against me? ” Hamlet leaves the queen in an emotionally exhausted status: “I have no life to take a breath / What thou hast said to me.”

Both Ophelia and Gertrude possess complex disposition and motive, therefore measure up as rounded, non level or planar, characters ( Abrams 33 ) . Besides both adult females have a daintiness about them. In acknowledgment of this daintiness, the shade asks the supporter to ignore retaliation on Gertrude: “Taint non thy head, nor allow thy soul contrive / Against thy mother aught.” Ophelia ‘s daintiness is revealed in the visual aspect of her insanity and subsequently decease ensuing from the loss of her male parent and the fondness of her fellow.


Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Footings. 7th erectile dysfunction. New York: 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. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.freehomepages.com/hamlet/other/burton-hamlet.htm

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Lectures and Notes on Shakspere and Other English Poets. London: George Bell and Sons, 1904. p. 342-368. hypertext transfer protocol: //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 Calamity of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. hypertext transfer protocol: //www.chemicool.com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full.html No line nos.

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