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Hamlet's Portrayal Of Women

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The Portrayal of Women
Hamlet explores the position and power of women in society through the actions of both Ophelia and Gertrude and through the authority the men have over them.
Women are seen as a possession of men. In the scene where Hamlet meets the ghost of his father, the Ghost mentions that as he sleeps by his brother’s hand, he have lost his “life”, “crown”, and “queen” (1.5.81-82). In the Ghost’s eyes, Gertrude, his “queen”, belongs to him just as his life and crown does. These belongings that were once his have now been taken away from him by his brother. Using the word “queen” to refer to Gertrude is also suggestive of his ownership of her and how the Ghost does not see her as a wife and someone of equal status to him. After the death of King Hamlet and Gertrude’s remarriage, this theme of her being a possession reoccurs with Claudius taking the Ghost’s position. As Claudius prays for his forgiveness for murdering King Hamlet, he asks: “My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense”(3.3.59-60).
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After Hamlet questions Gertrude’s purity and virtue as a wife, she claims that his words have “cleft” her “heart in twain” (3.4.177). Hamlet says to her, ”Good night. But go not to my uncle’s bed” (3.4.179-180). These words displays that the amount of respect Hamlet has for his mother is little to none. He thinks that by marrying Claudius, Gertrude has betrayed his father and is no longer virtuous. As both a son and a prince, Hamlet’s actions reveals just how superior a man is as who he is trying to command is both his mother and the queen. When the queen, who in theory should hold the greatest amount of power as a woman is easily influenced by her own son, it demonstrates the weak-mindedness of women as a
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