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When Gertrude drinks from the cup, Claudius asks her not to drink and she refuses. ...

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taya | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 31, 2010 at 12:55 AM via web

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When Gertrude drinks from the cup, Claudius asks her not to drink and she refuses.  Has she ever disobeyed Claudius before?

Hamlet, Act 5

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 31, 2010 at 8:11 AM (Answer #1)

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To my knowledge she has not openly refused him and how could she, she is the queen but he is the king and her husband, and in their culture she was not going to be standing up to him regularly.

The one instance that comes to mind of refusal or disobedience is more in Hamlet's conversation with his mother when he urges her to go not to Claudius' bed any longer and to not allow him to get from her the gist of their conversation, no matter how much he is affectionate with her or flatters her.

Perhaps it was this conversation and the resolve she has to move forward thanks to the deep guilt that she felt that would allow her to refuse his order.

Of course it could also be simply that Shakespeare decided she ought to die and this was a ironic a way to do it as any!

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