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A Queen's StrengthExplain how Gertrude twists the arms of Rosencratz and...

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 11, 2008 at 1:36 PM via web

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A Queen's Strength

Explain how Gertrude twists the arms of Rosencratz and Guildenstern.  How does she prove the powers of the Queen? 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted February 15, 2008 at 7:01 AM (Answer #2)

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Gertrude's prodding of R & G is dripping with flattery. She doesn't even use her power as the queen, she relies on the power of her new husband the king. She uses her power as a woman more than that of a political figure. She tells the men that the king speaks highly of them often and if they help they will be even more esteemed by the king and they will be remembered like kings are remembered. She is promising them eternality in a way because she says she will ensure they will be remembered like kings.

"And sure I am two men there is not living to whom he (Claudius) more adheres. . .Your visitation shall receive such thanks as fits a king's remembrance" (A2:S2).

I don't really think that it's her power as queen, although she can offer to reward them, I think it's her powers as woman who happens to also be a queen. R & G know that it's ultimately the king's good favor they require.

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jamie-wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted February 15, 2008 at 12:43 PM (Answer #3)

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Gertrude's prodding of R & G is dripping with flattery. She doesn't even use her power as the queen, she relies on the power of her new husband the king. She uses her power as a woman more than that of a political figure. She tells the men that the king speaks highly of them often and if they help they will be even more esteemed by the king and they will be remembered like kings are remembered. She is promising them eternality in a way because she says she will ensure they will be remembered like kings.

"And sure I am two men there is not living to whom he (Claudius) more adheres. . .Your visitation shall receive such thanks as fits a king's remembrance" (A2:S2).

I don't really think that it's her power as queen, although she can offer to reward them, I think it's her powers as woman who happens to also be a queen. R & G know that it's ultimately the king's good favor they require.

Crystal-  Before I had done such a close reading of Hamelt I would have agreed with you.   But I think there is more subtle manipulation on Gertrude's part as a queen not just as a woman.  She's a smart cookie and uses what she can to get what she wants.  I think there is too much "victimization" of Gertrude overall and not enough emphasis on her responsibility for her own actions. 

She does have power, and lots of it.  Look at my lesson, "Spies Like Us," and see what you think. 

http://blogs.enotes.com/literature-101/2008-01/hamlet-lesson-11-spies-like-us/

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted February 17, 2008 at 10:20 AM (Answer #4)

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Just FYI, when Guildenstern says, "And here give up ourselves in the full bent," he is using a metaphor relating to archery (according to Bevington), and it means "to the utmost degree of our capacity."  Full bent in archery is the most difficult position to maintain when shooting arrows - the bow is bent to its absolute utmost, and so it can be excruciating.

"The expression is derived from archery; the bow has its "bent" when it is drawn as far as it can be."
(http://hollowaypages.com/Shakespearejohnson.htm)

This is interesting to consider because Guildenstern isn't just saying, "We'll do our best, ma'am."  He's assuring Gertrude, as she was the one whose words caused Rosencrantz to respond the way he did in the lines previous to this, that they will do everything, even to the point of physical pain and discomfort, to acquiese to their requests.

 

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