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The play ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare has a number of characters who portray different characters in the play. Though each character displays a certain character that can be associated with even in real life, there are characters that are very conspicuous. Characters like Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia are very dominating.

This paper is going to dwell on the character Gertrude. This character is Hamlet’s mother, was the late King Hamlet’s wife and is the current King Claudius wife. Though she does not appear as frequently as the others, her character can really be felt in one way or another. My thesis statement is that that Gertrude was frail.


Frail is a word that is used to describe weakness or lack of strength. As one reads the script, Gertrude is brought out as a beautiful charming woman but seems to portray very questionable characteristics. She seems to be full of mystery and she is not easily understood as to which side she is on (Hamlet’s side or Claudius). She is like someone w sitting on the ‘fence’, not sure of whether to go inside or stay outside so that they do not get hurt. Maybe this is the reason why we describe her as being frail.

When Hamlet comes back from the university, she finds out that her mother, who had been a widow for only one month, had been married by his uncle Claudius. This was not very pleasing to him especially when he learnt that his father had been murdered by this same uncle. Though she might have seriously loved Claudius even more than Hamlet the deceased, she might have done this in order to protect herself from being dethroned and someone taking her place. If Claudius married someone else, that woman would have automatically become queen and that would have dethroned Gertrude.

Though this can also be termed as selfishness, it is also a sign of being frail. She might have been afraid of facing the world on her own without the privileges that come along with being a queen. According to the kind of life that she led, she seemed not to be strong enough to be out there on her on. She seems afraid and even wants to protect her son though she seems to betray him in the process.

She seems to have a great dependence on men. She barely stayed a month after her husband had died before she got married by his brother. This further explains the nature of her frail character. The choice of man that she took may not be the best especially because he was involved with her husband’s death but he is still a man.

He is not strong enough to confront Claudius for the action that he did. If anything, he seems to protect him and even tells his son to let his dad go for it is only a passage that passed by all into the next world. She was not ready to confront Claudius for she might have been afraid of loosing the throne and even afraid of loosing his son too. If Claudius had murdered the king, he could have as well done the same to the prince.

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