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The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

The Character of Gertrude in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

It is tempting to condemn Gertrude as evil, but it is probably more sensible to consider her as weak and inconstant. Hamlet’s heartfelt line “Frailty, thy name is woman” sums up his view of her actions early in the play. Like many of Shakespeare’s women characters, she is “sketched in” rather than drawn in detail. We know that she has a deep affection for her son, which is commented on by Claudius in Act 4 “The Queen, his mother, lives almost by his looks.” and we may assume that she has not gone to Claudius’s bed unwillingly, although there is a lack of evidence that she returns the King’s obsession with her.

She is protected by the ghost, too, who commands Hamlet not to punish her and intervenes in the closet scene when Hamlet’s attack on Gertrude is at its height. The ghost’s instructions to his son are specific:

“But howsomever thou pursuest this act

Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive

Against thy mother aught..” (I. v. 84-6)

Hamlet, too reminds the audience twice how Gertrude behaved in th…

Coping with Change in My Kinsman, Major Molineux

Coping with Change in My Kinsman, Major Molineux

My Kinsman, Major Molineux is about Robin a young and sheltered youth. This story opens with Robin trying to find his kinsman Major Molineux. He approaches many people trying to find his kinsman. Of all the people he approaches none are helpful in locating his kinsman. Finally he gets an answer and finds his kinsman to have been tarred and feathered. This is a shock to him, however, he deals with that surprise and goes on with his life. This story is about change and coping with the fact that change is inevitable.

The first man, that Robin asks about his kinsman, was gruff and unhelpful. Even though Robin asked the whereabouts of his kinsman in a polite way “Good evening to you honored sir, I pray you tell me whereabouts is the dwelling of my kinsman…” He received no answer from this man. Later in the story he meets with the same man again. At the second meeting Robin asserted himself differently and received an answer from the man. This time he was more confident “No, no, neighbor! No, no I am not the fool you take me for, nor do you pass till I have an answer to my question.” This transformation in Robin shows that experience breeds change and that change is inevitable. This change in Robin can be paralleled to societies and governments. Drawing from change any sentient structure can learn that new measures are required in order to succeed.

When Robin found his kinsman it was under less than desirable circumstances. Robin was in severe shock; “His knees shook and his hair bristled with a mixture of pity and terror.” The crowd that followed his kinsman was overwhelming when it grasped Robin into it’s clutches his shouts of laughter where the loudest there. This illustrates that each generation must make up its own mind on protocol for handling the situations that come its way. Each government and society must make new policies and rules for the unexpected situations that occur. Also the physical similarities between Robin and his kinsman show that change does not have to be a completely new beginning, but a “younger” way of looking at the world for that day’s society, government or individual.

At the very end Robin was getting ready to leave for his home in the country.

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