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Gertrude often anticipates, or correctly identifies, key moments, themes, or implications within the play as a whole.
Gertrude’s suffering at these revelations is genuine; her repeated requests for ‘sweet Hamlet’ (3.4.88) to ‘speak to me no more’ (3.4.86) belie the shame that she now feels.
Her reaction is such that even the Ghost, a previous critic, observes that ‘amazement on thy mother sits’ (3.4.104) and warns Hamlet not to distress her further.
She was married to the murdered King Hamlet (represented by the Ghost in the play) and has subsequently wed Claudius, his brother.
In a BBC interview Doran explained that his production was rooted in the premise that Gertrude and Claudius enjoyed ‘a vigorous sexual relationship’ within, and prior to, the events of the play.
He viewed the two characters’ marriage as a love match.
Gertrude’s persona, in this version of the play, is consistent with the Hamlets’ view of her as shallow and lustful.
Speaking as Gertrude in interview, Downie declared, ‘I was just very pleased that I could have what I wanted, which was Claudius and the crown’.
The pivotal and revelatory closet scene of Act 3, Scene 4 is the first and only instance in which Hamlet and Gertrude are alone together on stage.
It is the intensity of their interaction, as well as the shock of Polonius’s assassination and Hamlet’s subsequent accusations of murder and incest, which begin to reveal the emotional depths of Gertrude’s character: The knowledge that her first husband, King Hamlet, was murdered by Claudius causes Gertrude to experience a moral awakening: what was once an ethical grey area (her ‘o’erhasty marriage’) has become a ‘black and grainèd spot’ upon her very soul.