Oppression In Hamlet Analysis

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Hamlet: The Tragedy of Female Oppression

Feminism has erupted over the past century. The theme of patriarchy has ruled over women for centuries. With the uprising of the critique of patriarchy, more feminists have analyzed Shakespeare’s literary works as in favor of the male gender roles. In Act 1 scene 3, the station of Polonius and Laertes reveals their patriarchal position over Ophelia by constructing advices that molds their expectations of her and degrading her in ways that exemplify the oppression of women during the 1600’s. As a young woman of the 1600’s Ophelia is most likely unaware of the patriarchy that shadows above her. “I do not know my lord, what should I think?”. Ophelia is so unsure about her affair with Hamlet that she
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“Tender yourself more dearly, Or not to the crack of the wind of the poor phase, running it thus, you’ll tender me a fool”. Polonius is not interested in love, or what is best for Ophelia’s wants. Polonius does not want Ophelia to make him look bad. Polonius would like Ophelia to choose a partner who would benefit him, but Ophelia feels that Hamlet is mad for her love. Whatever will benefit Polonius’ reputation is his only incentive to keep Ophelia informed about men. Ophelia is able to reveal to Polonius that Hamlet has affection for her. “‘He hath my lord, of late made many tenders of affection to me!’... ‘do you believe his tenders as you call them?” Ophelia wants to believe that Hamlet is being sincere revealing a feminine way to look at an affair, but Polonius shuts down her perceptions about Hamlet. Feminist analysis comes into play with the male intentions versus the female emotions. The difference between Polonius and Ophelia is that Ophelia’s intentions are emotional and Polonius’ intentions are more social. “Women’s nurturing capacities are distinct from men’s testosterone-driven engagement in the world around them” (Hall, 200). Ophelia thinks that there is hope for love, but Polonius contradicts her with the social and economic norms of the

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