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Gertrude Talks Back by Margaret Atwood
Transcript of Gertrude Talks Back by Margaret Atwood
The poem replaces a scene and modifies it a bit. The author does this because she might feel like Gertrude had no opportunity to speak and wanted her to speak up for herself. Also, she wanted to make Gertrude's character more prominent and significant. She wanted to shift the focus of father-son relationships to mother-son relationships.
f. In the original play, Gertrude's silence added a lot of ambiguity and confusion but the rendition of this scene clears up a lot of things and would've made the story much simpler and straightforward.
This poem definitely makes Gertrude not only a cold mother but a clever, conniving wife. Her criticism and confession shocks the audience because of the contrast in character in the original play. Hamlet sounds like a whiny, rebellious brat; he thinks of himself obligated to his father and a noble person but Gertrude reveals that he is just a regular teenage boy with daddy issues. King Claudius is portrayed an innocent, emotional and sweet man which contrasts his character in the original play because in the play, he is portrayed as a murderous and evil politician. In the play, Ophelia is portrayed as a heroine who is humble and obedient to her father while in the poem, she is portrayed as prissy, insecure, and immature. Hamlet's father is portrayed in the original play as a victim and a hero. In this poem, Hamlet's father is portrayed as a dog and a pretentious and dry character.
Why did she want to name him George? What is the significance of black socks? What is "the flesh" that Gertrude is referring to?