To Be Or Not To Be

Persona writing from the perspective of Gertrude in Hamlet

 It would be so easy just to jump. To climb up on that balcony railing and let myself fall effortlessly through the air into the welcoming arms of death. All my troubles would be gone. The allure of death, and of mind-numbing peace peace, is strong. Yet I can not bring myself to do it. The queen in me is warning that it would be the biggest mistake yet. And after all the stupid, cheap decisions I have already made, that is really saying something.

photo credits: http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/danube.htm

photo credits: http://www.antiquemapsandprints.com/danube.htm

I pace the floor, impatient with myself once again. Hamlet and Claudius have both left me after another discouraging conversation in which we tried to convince Hamlet to cheer up. He continues to be moody and morose, even though everyone else has chosen to act like they have moved on, myself included. It seemed easier to pretend nothing had ever happened than face reality. Well, I am tired of avoiding the truth. And truth be told, I hate myself, and that balcony railing is looking better every second.

The room is watching me silently. There is too much space, too much loneliness. The world continues to go on around me as I count the days in my prison. Most of all I miss my son. We used to walk together, in the gardens, every morning. We would discuss everything from politics to fashion to his latest love. I thought we would resume the routine after Hamlet’s funeral, but now I count myself lucky if I catch so much as a glimpse of my son.

I cry out desperately, “O Hamlet! Thou has cleft my heart in twain.(III.iv.156.)” The room does not respond, but my sob echoes in the high-vaulted ceiling. I should have expected as much. Nothing good ever comes of hoping someone will respond. I now know hope is the enemy, and will be my undoing if I am not careful.

I walk once more to the balcony, avoiding looking in the mirror as I pass by. I can not bear to look myself in the face. Nobody else can either. My subjects used to adore me, and come in droves whenever there was a royal ceremony, but at the wedding ceremony the only ones who came booed me when I walked up the aisle and had to be removed by guards. I lean over the railing and peer down at the floor, three stories below me. I watch the hustle and bustle of the castle activities wistfully. I used to practically live down there, giving orders to the servants, welcoming guests. Now Claudius orders me to stay in my room as I tend to upset the servants with my mere presence.

photo credits: http://pixgood.com/expensive-gold-engagement-ring.html

photo credits: http://pixgood.com/expensive-gold-engagement-ring.html

I turn away from the balcony slowly, and stare at the wedding band on my finger. I can’t believe Claudius suggested I use the same wedding band for our marriage as the one King Hamlet used. That ring was a symbol of our love, as Hamlet had travelled many a land to find a ring beautiful enough to capture the essence of our love. Now it burns my finger to wear it, and I only put it on when I am in Claudius’ presence. I should have known Claudius was a horrible man from the moment he insisted I use the same ring. Yet I was swept up in grief so strong, I did not realize what I was allowing Claudius to do until it was too late. Those short days of courtship are a complete blur, with the exception of Hamlet’s funeral. But it is too late now. Too many mistakes have been made, and my fate has been decided for me, by a conniving, evil man.

Fury rises up in my stomach as I picture Claudius’ scheming face. One day, he will be sorry for what he has done to me and my son! I rip the beautiful ring off my finger, and throw it over the balcony before I can have second thoughts. King Hamlet is gone. There is nothing I can do about that. But I can get my son back. Claudius will want Hamlet to hate me as much as possible, to be driven away from this kingdom by his disgust of me. But I will find a way to get close to him. I will listen to him, and try to make him understand where I am coming from. I will not lose him.

I stalk away from the balcony and head towards the door. Now is not the time to end my life. Later perhaps, but for now I have a purpose. Hamlet will not have died in vain, for his son will continue his legacy. I will make it happen or die trying.

photo credits: http://www.mbfantasyworld.co.uk/hamlet.html

photo credits: http://www.mbfantasyworld.co.uk/hamlet.html