Sweet Gertrude, leave us too.

Why does Claudius send Gertrude away here? What, she can’t spy on her son with his girlfriend, too? Is it a men’s only Spy Club? Or maybe the thing they’re planning to hide behind is only big enough for two? Or is spying only men’s work?

When I played Gertrude (age 22) I got upset with Claudius for sending me away but only because he was sending me away as if I were a servant or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And we either cut the speech after this line or I wasn’t really thinking about what was happening here. Now in reading this, it seems possible that the reason the king is still talking is that he feels like he needs to win the Queen over – that somehow he’ll be able to provide an explanation that will satisfy or pacify here.

I find it curious that she says, “I shall obey you” in response. She’s not endorsing the plan at all, just agreeing to do what her husband is asking her to do.
This makes this whole section a lot more interesting – if, rather than being a simple announcement of a plan, it is a negotiation between two complex married people who have to negotiate a thing – things any other married people do, royal or no.


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