Hamlet's mother. After Hamlet's father dies, Gertrude quickly marries Hamlet's uncle, Claudius. Though she is a good woman and loving mother, she is weak-willed and unable to control her personal passions. Whether because of lust, love, or a desire to maintain her status as queen, she marries Claudius, though this is clearly a breach of proper morals. Though some critics have argued that Gertrude might have been involved in Claudius's plot to kill Old Hamlet, evidence in the text suggests that she is unaware of and uninvolved in the plot.
Gertrude Quotes in Hamlet
The Hamlet quotes below are all either spoken by Gertrude or refer to Gertrude. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Hamlet published in 1992.).
Act 1, scene 2 Quotes
Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not "seems."
Frailty, thy name is woman!
Gertrude Character Timeline in Hamlet
The timeline below shows where the character Gertrude appears in Hamlet. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, scene 2
...the dead king, holds court. He uses pretty language to make his recent marriage to Gertrude, his brother's widow, sound perfectly normal. He says it is possible to balance "woe" and... (full context)
Act 1, scene 5
Act 2, scene 2
...the ambassadors have returned from Norway. He goes to get them. While Polonius is gone, Gertrude remarks that Hamlet's mania probably comes from his father's death and her too-hasty marriage to... (full context)
...long-winded ramble about Hamlet's madness, Polonius reads love letters Hamlet sent to Ophelia. Claudius and Gertrude agree that lovesickness may be causing Hamlet's behavior. Polonius proposes that they stage a meeting... (full context)
Act 3, scene 1
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can't figure out what's behind Hamlet's odd behavior, but tell Claudius and Gertrude that he was excited by the arrival of the players. The King and Queen, hopeful... (full context)
Act 3, scene 2
...about). The players then begin to act the full play. As the plot becomes clear, Gertrude and Claudius become uncomfortable. Hamlet mocks them, while continuing to launch sexual puns at Ophelia.... (full context)
Act 3, scene 3
Act 3, scene 4
...order, it says, to refocus Hamlet on his duty—revenge against Claudius. Hamlet speaks to it. Gertrude can't see the ghost and thinks Hamlet's mad. The Ghost tells Hamlet to calm her. (full context)
Act 4, scene 1
Act 4, scene 5
Act 4, scene 7
...Laertes asks why Claudius didn't punish Hamlet for killing Polonius. Claudius answers: First, he loves Gertrude and she's Hamlet's mother; second, Hamlet is loved by the people, so punishing him might... (full context)
Act 5, scene 1
Act 5, scene 2