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Claudius orders Gertrude to leave when he and Polonius hide to spy on Hamlet's encounter with Ophelia in Act III. Gertrude replies with deference, saying "I shall obey you." It is not clear why Claudius does not allow Gertrude to hide with him and Polonius, but she is quit to obey, even though she is more distraught than anyone over Hamlet's apparent madness, and would probably like to witness the encounter. This is Gertrude's only explicitly deferential quote from the play, but more generally, she never seriously examines her situation until her famous scene with Hamlet in her chamber at the end of Act III. She does not seem to recognize that it was improper for her to marry her husband's brother so quickly after the elder Hamlet's death. Her blindness to the impropriety of the situation contributes to the perfect storm of intrigue and wickedness in Elsinore, though it seems derived from obedience and genuine love for Claudius than her own lack of scruples.
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