How Does Shakespeare Present Misogyny In Hamlet

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The Devastation of Misogyny in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Misogyny is a malevolent force that has existed throughout history. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet reflects this blind prejudice against women and its adverse effects. Ophelia’s life exemplifies the discrimination women face in the world of Hamlet, highlighting the dangers of such behavior. The play situates the audience in a world where patriarchal and misogynistic attitudes are unquestioned and deeply ingrained in culture and society. In the first act, Polonius is the primary perpetrator of misogynistic practices when he instructs Ophelia to end her relationship with Hamlet. He dismisses her feelings with condescension, trivializing her emotions: “Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green …show more content…

He makes decisions for her and maintains complete control over her life. Ophelia, due to her poor treatment and through the expectations of the culture and ideologies of Denmark at the time, adopts a servile attitude towards her father. This is clear in the exchange between them when Ophelia says, “So please you… my lord… I do not know, my lord, what should I think… I shall obey, my lord” (Hamlet 1.3.89-135). There is a complete dismissal of women’s autonomy, as is evidenced by Ophelia’s father’s expectations of absolute obedience from Ophelia. The misogyny, unfortunately, permeates further than familial relations and shapes the expectations for both men and women on the gender roles of the time. This universal misogyny also encourages Hamlet’s dismissal of Ophelia’s …show more content…

Her own emotions and intuitions are dismissed. She is blamed for situations out of her control and is expected to accept whatever is decided for her. The culmination of the misogynistic expectations and treatment leads to her emotional turmoil when Hamlet ultimately denies her affection. In her despair and madness, she sings, “He is dead and gone, lady, / He is dead and gone” (Hamlet 4.5.29-30), which signifies her broken spirit, shattered by a society that places no value on her. The play suggests that Ophelia takes her own life or does not struggle for life because of her

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