Examples Of Misogyny In Hamlet

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Shakespearean Misogyny
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the two women in the play, Gertrude and Ophelia, are repeatedly manipulated and exploited by the men in their lives. They submit to male authority and oppressive societal customs because they have no other options. Gertrude and Ophelia are placed in this situation because of a male-dominated society that blames women for sexual immorality and corruption. Hamlet’s views about women are consistent with the commonly-held views of his peers. His beliefs shape the audience’s perceptions of women throughout the play. Hamlet’s attitude towards Gertrude and Ophelia reflects the prevailing misogynistic values of the time period, stereotyping women as weak and helpless, and condemning them for having opinions.
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He resents his mother because she did not hesitate to remarry immediately following the passing of King Hamlet; in Hamlet’s eyes, she cannot live independently because she is a fragile, powerless woman as all women are. Hamlet says, after complaining about Gertrude’s hasty remarriage, “frailty, thy name is woman” (1.2 150). His judgment of his mother’s character led to his generalization of all women being frail and helpless. Hamlet extends this judgment to his evaluation of Ophelia’s character. He believes that because she is female, she must be deceitful and adulterous. Gertrude was unfaithful to King Hamlet and dishonored him by marrying Claudius, so all women including Ophelia must be inherently unfaithful. Hamlet tells Ophelia, “Get thee to a/ nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry,/ marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what/ monsters you make of them” (3.1 148-151). Hamlet essentially calls Ophelia a whore, and blames her and all women for the ruin of

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