Which Statement Best Describes Gertrude’s Development Between Act 1 and Act 4?

In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Gertrude, the Queen of Denmark and mother of Hamlet, undergoes character development from Act I to Act IV. At the beginning of the play, Gertrude’s true character is not evident as Shakespeare omits the description of her inner feelings. Hamlet and the Ghost provide their narratives of Gertrude, stating that she is beautiful but her lust encourages terrible decisions. However, Gertrude does not say anything to dispute this evaluation, and there is not enough information to examine her character.

Gertrude’s character begins to develop in Act III when she has a private conversation with Hamlet. Hamlet blames his mother for the murder of his father, and Gertrude realizes that Claudius was behind the death of her previous husband. This realization shatters her prior beliefs about her son’s suffering and Claudius, and she begins to doubt her initial assertions. In Act IV, Gertrude becomes less confident in her assertions and feels great shame.

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Gertrude’s character development is significant as it shows her transformation from a passive character to a more complex and dynamic one. At the beginning of the play, Gertrude is portrayed as a woman who is easily influenced by those around her. However, as the play progresses, Gertrude begins to think for herself and question her beliefs. This transformation is essential as it shows that even the seemingly passive characters have the potential for growth and development.

In conclusion, Gertrude’s character development in Hamlet is a crucial element of the play. Her transformation from a passive character to a more complex and dynamic one shows that even seemingly minor characters have the potential for growth and development. Her realization about the truth behind her previous husband’s death and her changing beliefs show the complexity of her character and add depth to the play.

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