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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: Gertrude
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 730.  Sunday, 7 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Ann M. Cox <
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        Date:   Saturday, 06 Nov 93 23:27:02 EST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0723 Re: Gertrude
 
(2)     From:   Elizabeth Miller <
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        Date:   Sunday, 7 Nov 1993 09:14:18 -0500
        Subj:   Re: Gertrude's guilt
 
(3)     From:   Ronald Dwelle <
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        Date:   Sunday, 07 Nov 93 10:45:34 EST
        Subj:   SHK 4.0723  Re: Gertrude
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann M. Cox <
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Date:           Saturday, 06 Nov 93 23:27:02 EST
Subject: Re: Gertrude
Comment:        SHK 4.0723 Re: Gertrude
 
Gertrude's act of marrying Claudius is not just bad judgement in
choosing an evil man or being disloyal to her husband's memory, she is,
in the social mores of the 17th century, committing incest. This is the
reason she is so reviled.
 
Ann M. Cox
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elizabeth Miller <
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Date:           Sunday, 7 Nov 1993 09:14:18 -0500
Subject:        Re: Gertrude's guilt
 
I'd like to add two points. First, notice that Gertrude does not share
Claudius' reaction to the play (III,ii) but rather queries Claudius "How fares
my lord?" Not the sort of response one would expect from an accomplice.
Secondly, there's her response to Hamlet's accusation (III,iv) "A bloody deed -
almost as bad, good mother/As kill a king and marry with his brother". Note
that she accepts the first part but exclaims, "As kill a king?" I don't think
Gertrude would have the presence of mind to be able to "cover up" so
successfully. Along with the point raised earlier by others, these show quite
conclusively that she was not an accomplice to murder.
 
Elizabeth Miller
Memorial University of Newfoundland

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ronald Dwelle <
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Date:           Sunday, 07 Nov 93 10:45:34 EST
Subject: Re: Gertrude
Comment:        SHK 4.0723  Re: Gertrude
 
Ah, the chance to disagree (somewhat) with a former teacher!
 
I think Ken Rothwell is too kind to Gertrude. She's a cow. The closest I see
her coming to any self-understanding or reflection is in the bedroom scene when
Hamlet forces her to turn her eyes inward upon herself. But, then, she recovers
quite nicely by the final scene.
 
Gertrude doesn't know about the murder and wouldn't want to know.
 
(Hi, Ken!)
 

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