Feminist Lens Of The Elizabethan Era

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Maddy Pierick Miss. Murphy English IV 5 Jan. 2023 Feminist Lens The 1500s were considered the Elizabethan era. Elizabethan society was quite patriarchal; women were considered the “weaker sex” and always in need of protection. Women were married off at an early age and had one main purpose, childbearing. Despite the Elizabethan era being a time of progress in comparison to previous decades, women were still thought to be less than men in almost every aspect of life. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, there are two main women characters Gertrude and Ophelia. Both fall victim to the patriarchal society of the time. In “Discovering Feminism through Gertrude and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet” the two women Gertrude and Ophelia were disrespected …show more content…

She was killed by the poison her brother-in-law gave her. In lines 50 through 55, the text states: “He seduced my seemingly virtuous queen, persuading her to give in to his lust.” (Hamlet by William Shakespeare). During this era, women were thought to not be very smart and this quote demonstrates that Hamlet didn’t think his mother was smart enough to see through what his uncle did. In the article “Discovering Feminism through Gertrude and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet”, it says in paragraph 7, page 247 “Her silence is meant to show her weakness.” Hamlet as made her feel bad and disrespected her to make her go silent. …show more content…

Ophelia’s father and brother are cautioning her about Hamlet. Line 40 in Scene 3 states: “So be careful. Fear will keep you safe. Young people often lose their self-control even without any help from others.” (Hamlet by William Shakespeare). Line 105 in scene 3 also states: “Then I’ll tell you. Believe that you are a foolish little baby for believing these 'offers' are something real. Offer yourself more respect, or—not to beat this word to death—you’ll offer me the chance to be a laughingstock.” (Hamlet by William Shakespeare). Ophelia’s moral actions would have dire consequences for her family. They are cautioning her because they don’t think she is smart enough to know Hamlet, as well as her brother and father, do. Ophelia blindly obeys her family’s wishes. A family’s reputation in the 1500s was extremely important. In the article “Discovering Feminism through Gertrude and Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet”, it mentions in paragraph 14, page 250 “they disrespect her as if she is less of a person than they are” (Rani) Ophelia was told that “ she should be in a brothel instead of being a “breeder of sinners.”” Also in paragraph 14 page 250 (Rani) This just shows that men were so disrespectful to women and made women think that men were more important and better than they

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