Women In Hamlet, Othello, And King Lear

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Ladies First
(An analysis of the treatment of women in Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear)
“Cordelia, Desdemona, Juliet, and Ophelia… Most of these women died as a result of men acting irrationally. Most of them were pawns in games of power or revenge” (Vollmer). Women in Shakespearean tragedies most often end up dead, as do most of the men. The ways in which these women were treated were centered around the stigma of women during the time in which Shakespeare was creating these plays. Women had little to no power in this time period and were more often seen than heard, as the patriarchy is much more strict in Shakespeare’s day and age. Compulsive liars, whores, frail, and irrelevant are all words that were used to describe women in many of Shakespeare’s tragedies. There is much debate as to whether Shakespeare spited women
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Characters such as Ophelia, are drawn to self slaughter because of the crushing weight of the patriarchy and how it slowly crushes each woman as the play progresses. Shakespeare’s tragedies, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello are all examples of the ways in which women were treated during the Shakespearean era.
In Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet,Hamlet sees women as untrustworthy and deceptive. The women in this play are strongly overseen by seemingly stronger male characters. It is very rare, if it occurs at all, to witness Gertrude on stage without being watched by Claudius in one form or another. Similarly, Ophelia is nearly always being watched by her father when she speaks to Lord Hamlet. Men felt the need to keep close reign over their women, in fear of what the frail woman might do on her own. The women of this era were
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