One of the prompts for my last paper in English 113 was to write a soliloquy for Gertrude. The following essay was an eleventh hour idea that was instantly one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.
I put it at the beginning of the play, as a prologue to the play itself. As such, I thought I’d give iambic pentameter a go, which sort of separates it from the main play.
(Note that Aros is an archaic alternate spelling of Eros.)
Enter the Queen
GERTRUDE: Life was a field of hay when first we wed.
The joy and pain and lust and tame were mixed
within our bed. Where hath my lover gone?
Submissive colt, my sweet adoring man,
Hamlet my King, both Dane and thane. Secret
desires not known or feared among common
or high lay deep within the breast of him.
The rest of Gertrude’s soliloquy lies below the fold, click to read the rest.
To train the colt the colt be trained and not
of neck so stiff but bent to heel. Aros
unto Aphrodite submits and so
did king to queen thus bend, at knee and waist
his love to plead his pain and need for it.
Stripes he bore and bruise and more excellent
a trainéd trainee trained I never have
nor will I ever I suspect. Even
brother Tartarus is unlike to match
though present circumstance may tilt the weight
of my decision now. Oh that then were now.
Aros colt did take to crop and whip and blade
as though he born to train and bend and kneel
and wear collar as well as crown, and proud
in heeled subservience. But now! Oh now
the colt Aros lies lame upon the heath
with head aching or strained back or bruised knee
and waits not on Mistress Aphrodite.
“Safeword, safeword,” the word is safe and safe
the colt from his trainer’s flushed countenance.
Mistress Aphrodite hath sheets of ice
no flesh to warm with warméd flesh angry skin
to sate her thirsty appetite. Her boots
unkissed, her lips unmissed Aros lies in
the field. Claudio Tartarus is now
the colt, the only colt that stands within
the reach of Queen Aphrodite. Scrawny
pale in comparison to good Aros
yet choice seldom comes to good and better
rather down to poor and poorer – or none.
A fool! A fool! My kingdom for a fool!
A falling fool, the fool to fall for queen
and country give his all, his all is mine
to take and mine to give, incestuous queen
is better than no queen at all, I think.
To keep the crown and bed the king, to have
the man strapped down in sling, the polish on
the boots besmirched by lips of royal blood,
the poor outstrips the worse. Mistress Monarch
must be free of this uncertainty. I -
I must kill the king. Not by hand of queen
but yet by hand of weak of will I’ll find
the way to kill. He lusts for me and
twitches his eye, and all can see his leer
when I pass by. Should suspicion be raised
of kingdom razed, the queen in senseless haze
the wiser none shall be. I play the fool.
“Usurper,” they will cry but not at I.
Usurping serpent! Aye! Not eye, but ear!
A plot is near, from mouth to ear to hand
to ear again. So shall it be and I
will once again atop the kingdom lie.
From whence came the art:
That image is titled Queen Gertrude, by Jim Carson, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.