1 Answer | Add Yours
In Act Two, scene two, of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the part I find interesting is Polonius' endless talking about nothing. He goes on and on while talking to Gertrude and Claudius and says very little. If the reader or audience is confused, it is because Polonius says quite a bit but little of it has any value. All he wants is to make himself indispensable, thereby solidifying his position with Claudius, the new King.
If I were to put myself in a character's place, it would be Gertrude. She is the one, when listening to Polonius blabbe on, that tells him to get to the point.
More matter, with less art. (line 102)
I would imagine that she would be wondering why they waste time listening to Polonius when all she really wants is to know what is ailing her son, Hamlet. Her husband has died, and she has remarried scandalously soon to her brother-in-law.
Gertrude worries that her husband's death and her own swift marriage may have caused Hamlet distress:
I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage. (lines 59-60)
I would anticipate that Gertrude also misses Old Hamlet, is not sure of her "footing" with Claudius—for as a widow, her place in court would not be guaranteed the way it is after she is remarried. She is probably doing a balancing act in keeping Claudius happy and worrying for her son.
Claudius seems perfectly satisfied to listen to the windbag Polonius. It is interesting that Gertrude speaks up. However, perhaps in this way we can see that although she is married again, her son is still very dear to her. She may feel she has had to settle for Claudius—as there was no romance between them before Old Hamlet's death; and not only is her place guaranteed, but she would hope that Hamlet's place in the kingdom would also be solid.
Gertrude is the Queen, but she, like Ophelia, is a pawn in the world of politics and intrigue in this male-dominated society. She is definitely a survivor, but when Claudius manipulates Hamlet's death, she, too, becomes a victim.
We’ve answered 318,915 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question