Discuss the relationship between Claudius and Gertrude as portrayed in the play.does he really love her or is he only using her to stay in power. . . . he didnt try very hrad 2 stop her from...

Discuss the relationship between Claudius and Gertrude as portrayed in the play.

does he really love her or is he only using her to stay in power. . . . he didnt try very hrad 2 stop her from drinking the poisoned wine for fear of being exopsed. . . how does she feel for him? << i really dont know how to go about expressing her feelings towards him

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think either Claudius or Gertrude love each other.  But, I do think they are loyal to each other in their roles (granted, their roles are adulterous, incestuous, and immoral)

Claudius and Gertrude remind me of Oedipus and Jocasta: both couples are blind to truths about themselves, about the other, and especially toward their children.  Both couples commit incest, the worst crime within a family.  Both couples suffer dearly for it.

At the end, Claudius is such a traitorous villain, only concerned with protecting the crown, that he is responsible for the deaths of his opponent (Hamlet), his pawns (Polonius, Ophelia, Laertes), and even those caught in the crossfire (Gertrude).  He laments her death the way a general laments collateral damage (innocent civilians) in a war--as an afterthought.

Both Claudius and Gertrude are filling roles in the play.  More than husband and wife to each other, Claudius is a king playing a king, and Gertrude is a queen playing a queen.  That's all she knew how to do.  She is in such a state of denial regarding her husband's murder that it blinds her to the fact that she is sleeping with the enemy.

Neither of them love Hamlet.  Claudius is never an uncle to Hamlet; worse, Gertrude is not much of a mother to her grieving son.  She marries hastily, without concern that it is too sudden.  Hamlet has to give her angry clues for her to become aware:

I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.

Read the study guide:
Hamlet

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