If you are to compare Gertrude with an animal in symbolic form, what will it be?In my opinion, Gertrude resembles a rabbit. She was easily manipulated by Claudius. With many examples shown...

If you are to compare Gertrude with an animal in symbolic form, what will it be?

In my opinion, Gertrude resembles a rabbit. She was easily manipulated by Claudius. With many examples shown throughout the play, she demonstrated the frailty of women in the play. Like a rabbit, she seemed naive and innocent. However, she was greedy and ignorant - she remarried shortly after King Hamlet's death as she lusted for her crown and status (as a queen)

Do you think i am right? :/ Any other thoughts? Please help and share!

Asked on by sab002

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

If she is to be considered an animal, Gertrude belongs in the hoofed animal category, for she is like a herd animal.  If, for instance, the stallion is killed or defeated and run off by another stallion, the mares simply go with him.  Nevertheless, while they follow the leader, the mares have very strong maternal instincts which will call them to individual action if necessary for the protection of their offspring. While highly dependent upon Claudius and easily manipulated, Gertrude finds strength in her maternal instincts.  She is greatly concerned about Hamlet's depression, and, of course, she defends her young by drinking the poison intended for him.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Before I clicked on this and saw your answer to your own question, I was thinking "sheep."  As it turns out, you and I are thinking along the same lines -- different animal, but same reason.  Our view of sheep is that they kind of go along stupidly following their leaders.

For an alternative to that, maybe we should go with dog.  Gertrude is quite faithful to Hamlet, at least, and protective of him.  Those are attributes we assign to dogs.  If she was not in on killing Hamlet, Sr. then this applies even more -- she was a dog who was faithful to her people and when one of them died, she remained faithful to the other one as well as to a new "owner" -- Claudius.

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