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Beatrice and Gertrude Comparison Essay

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Updated: Sep 28th, 2021

Queen Gertrude was a flippant woman who remarried quickly, Claudius of all people, her King’s brother. While Beatrice was a virtuous woman, in Dante’s eyes, who epitomized all that was true, good, and beautiful in Middle Ages era women. This essay compares and contrasts the two women. While Gertrude was dark and possibly a parricide, Beatrice was pure and innocent.

Truth be told there is only one similarity between them is that they both play prominent roles in the books they are featured in. Gertrude as Queen is the lead female character opposite Hamlet in the book of the same name. Beatrice has long served as Dante’s inspirational muse and in the Divine Comedy it is no different, Beatrice is Dante’s guide as he ascends the spheres of heaven.

In Act 3 scene two Gertrude and Hamlet watch a play where the queen is pursued by her husband’s murderer. When asked what she thought of the play she said “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks”. In the story Hamlet, her own husband was recently slain and his murder was his own brother who was now her husband. Truth be told, Gertrude was Hamlet was suspicious that she was involved in the murder. She is flippant because she remarried so soon after her husband’s death.

Speak, speak unto thy lady, that she quench. Thy thirst with drops of sweetness” (Paradiso Canto VII). The lady here is Beatrice. Unlike the scheming, incestuous character of Gertrude Beatrice is simply good and beautiful. She is Dante’s guide in paradise. She is also a very real character in that she is actually modeled after Bice di Folco Portinari a woman that Dante loved very much in life. That she died at the age of 24 is the other reason, besides his ravishment for her, he chose her to be his guide when he ‘went to heaven’ in 1300 AD. He was deeply in love with her although there is no proof if she felt the same or not because they both married other people.

Reference

Hamlet by Shakespeare.

The Paradiso- Dante, translated by John Ciardi.

on the Web.

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