Hamlet Women Essay

1764 Words8 Pages

Although a single woman controlled Europe during Shakespeare’s time, the Elizabethan society was quite patriarchal, women were always considered the “weaker sex” and always in need of protection. When women were married off, they had one main purpose, bearing children, as childbearing was considered a great honor at the time. Despite the Elizabethan era being a time of progress, women were still thought to be less than men in almost every aspect of life. In “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, there is a lack of female characters from the start of the play. Gertrude and Ophelia are more notable female characters, and as the play progresses it is clear that they are completely different characters with different motives; however, they both fall …show more content…

As soon as Gertrude and Claudius are introduced, it is clear that Gertrude holds love for Claudius, disregarding the fact that Claudius is a manipulating and a horrible person. She shows this extreme love for Claudius during act four scene four by putting her life into the hands of Laertes and “restraining him” in his attempt to murder Claudius. This evidently shows how Gertrude’s love for Claudius has resulted in her becoming blind to danger, clouded her judgement, and does not see how Claudius is planning to kill Hamlet behind her back. This clouded judgement and perception ultimately leads to Gertrude’s death, effectively proving how Gertrude is a victim of her love for Claudius. Alongside Gertrude, Ophelia is also a victim of her love. Ophelia’s love for her father means she is obliged to listen to and obey his every decision, resulting in her ending her relationship, with Hamlet, which she cherished. Ophelia’s and Hamlet’s relationship was supposedly very strong, as evidenced through their love letters, from act 2 scene 2, where Hamlet says, “To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the most beautified Ophelia—”, unfortunately Ophelia’s response to the letters is,“I did repel his letters and denied His access to me.”, just to please her father’s wishes. Her blind obedience to her father’s wishes shows how she is …show more content…

Claudius is a character that mentally dominates Gertrude when it comes to any situation, such as in act four scene six when he assures Laertes that, “And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe, But even his mother shall uncharge the practice, And call it accident.”. During this scene, Claudius is attempting to convince Laertes to kill Hamlet, and informs him that everyone wants him dead, including his own mother, even going so far as telling him that everyone will lie and call it an accident. This is a significant scene as it shows Claudius’ immense level of deceit, but also shows Claudius’ power dominance over Gertrude, Claudius is positive that Gertrude will abandon her son, by calling his death an accident, and effectively dominates her feelings towards her son, further highlighting her status as a victim in this plan. Gertrude once again faces male dominance from another character, this time from her own son, Hamlet. During act three scene four, Hamlet uses detailed imagery to explain his feelings towards the relationship of Gertrude’s and Claudius’, pure and utter disgust. He states that they are “stewed in corruption”, revealing Hamlet’s perspective on his mother, that she is just as corrupt, if not more, than Claudius. He then goes on to compare them to animals, “making love over a nasty sty”, disrespecting Gertrude’s relationship with

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