Women In Hamlet

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Women in Hamlet
"Frailty, Thy name is woman (1.2.150),” a quote from Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet conveys a message that characterizes the women as weak and subordinate to the men. In the Elizabethan Era women were often influenced by the men’s actions. Ophelia a young noblewomen and Gertrude the queen of Denmark are the only two women in the tragic play Hamlet, and both have little to no power. These limits are put on them due to what is socially acceptable for the era. The two main female characters in the play Hamlet, Gertrude and Ophelia, are portrayed as weak, vulnerable, and inferior, and are manipulated by the men, which ultimately leads to their demise.
The role of Gertrude as wife, queen, and mother are significant
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Ophelia is Hamlet’s love interest. As they spend time together Ophelia starts to fall in love with Hamlet and begins to see a future with him. In act one scene three Ophelia’s brother Laertes confronts her about her relationship with Hamlet before he returns to school in Paris. Soon after Laertes says something to Ophelia about not having trust in Hamlet their father Polonius agrees with him and says” This is for all: I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth Have you so slander any moment leisure As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look to ’t, I charge you. Come your ways.” (1.3.140-145) Her father told her that she cannot talk to Hamlet anymore and that she must end their relationship with one another. Both Polonius and Laertes tell Ophelia that’s Hamlet is playing with her feelings and that he has everything he wants and is just using her. Ophelia does not want to listen to her family’s opinion because she believes that Hamlet if different. (Gates) By her family saying these things about Hamlet to her in a way she begins to doubt herself and her self-worth. But soon after this talk Ophelia obeys her brother and fathers wishes and ends her relationship with Hamlet because the love of her family means everything to her. The lack of respect her family has for Hamlet and their break-up payed a significant role in the beginning of her downward spiral into…show more content…
For example, in act three scene four Hamlet and Gertrude are in her “closet.” During this scene Hamlet kills Polonius and speaks his mind and lets his mother know that she has offended his father. Also, in act three scene four in lines 19-21 Hamlet says “No, by the rood, not so. You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife, And (would it were not so) you are my mother.” At this point Hamlet brings his mother’s actions to her attention. Hamlet even blames his mother for his father’s death, he insists that she killed him. Gertrude soon begins to realize all the bad thing that she has done. In response to Hamlet she says “O Hamlet, speak no more! Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul, And there I see such black and grainèd spots As will not leave their tinct.” (3.4.99-102). The queen recognizes that her soul is full of sin and she didn’t realize that it was effect that it was having on her son. Throughout this scene Gertrude begins to act like a mother. For example, the Queen says, “Be thou assured, if words be made of breath And breath of life, I have no life to breathe What thou hast said to me.” (3.4.229-221) The quote displays the vow that she made to Hamlet about keeping his secret of faking the madness. By Gertrude agreeing with Hamlet, displays the trust the have between each other as mother and son. The development of the Queens character evolves from beginning to end.

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