In Hamlet, Gertrude tells the king: Hamlet is "mad as the sea and the wind when both contend/which is the mightier." Does she betray Hamlet?
First, early on we know that Hamlet puts on an "antic disposition" to throw those around him off, so they don't know if he is an enemy and dangerous, or simply insane.
When Claudius enters at the beginning of Act IV, scene i, his first question is "Where is your son?" Instead of telling him, or answering immediately, Gertrude excuses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and replies that she has seen terrible things.
Claudius then asks how Hamlet is? We know the King cares nothing for his step-son. We can only assume that he is trying to ascertain what kind of a danger Hamlet is.
Gertrude protects Hamlet by continuing to preserve the myth he has built up around himself, that he is mad. Her description presents images of a man out of control, whose sanity has fled.
To know that Gertrude is in earnest of protecting...
(The entire section contains 495 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial