Feminism In Hamlet

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Hamlet Essay Feminist theory by definition is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse, aiming to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women 's social roles, experiences, interests, and feminist politics in a variety of fields. Shakespeare criticizes misogyny within the play Hamlet by using the monarchy to emotionally strip the female characters of their power; this lack of voice ties directly to sanity and stability, or lack thereof. Laertes is instructing his sister, Ophelia, to be wary of Hamlet because he may not have the best intentions when it comes to her well being. Instead of Laertes treating his sister with the familial geniality that can often be found between siblings, he views…show more content…
In Hamlet, the women, Ophelia and Gertrude are portrayed as subordinate to the men around them and are dependent on them for their social standing, power, and influence. Hamlet is ranting on his mother 's hasty marriage to his Uncle Claudius. Ophelia laments over Hamlet leaving her in ruins, with nothing left to live for. Let me not think on 't; frailty, thy name is woman!(1.2.141-150). By Gis and by Saint Charity, Alack and fie for shame, Young men will do 't, if they come to 't; By Cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me, You promised me to wed. ' So would I 'a done, by yonder sun, An thou hadst not come to my bed (4.5.63-71). Hamlet looks down on the female gender with severe disdain when he asserts "Frailty, thy name is woman" which leads the reader to deduce that women are looked down upon as feeble and subordinate. Even though she begins to show signs of becoming her own person by beginning a relationship with Hamlet, unapproved by her father, eventually Ophelia is driven insane, and then later to her grave because of her inability to handle her father 's death and Hamlet 's colic treatment towards her. With her brother away in Paris, Hamlet rejecting their love, and the passing of her father, Ophelia 's frail mindedness leaves her incapable of existing on her own. "More recently, feminist critics, challenging this interpretation, have read Ophelia 's madness as […] constraint or her absolute victimization by patriarchal oppression"…show more content…
In culmination, the only two female characters that are seen in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare are viewed more like props rather than actual characters. While the men are headstrong, zealous and assertive, the women are acquiescent. In the end, both women ended up perishing for men that "loved" them. Often times women are often viewed as inferior and are frequently cast aside as not being imperative in relationships, the workforce and just life in general; this leads to a lack of support that many females repeatedly seek thus driving them
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