Comparing Hamlet And The Taming Of The Shrew Essay

1690 Words Jan 27th, 2015 7 Pages
During the 16th century, the idea of women’s rights and equality was a few hundred years away from being an important issue in the world. Women were considered subordinate to men, unquestionably. This idea was believed almost universally, but William Shakespeare reveals through many of his works an unpopular, more progressive opinion. Plays like Othello or The Taming of the Shrew portray certain women, like Emilia or Katherine, as very strong characters who stand up to “more-powerful” men, indicating his protofeministic beliefs. Though the women in Hamlet are not as strong-willed as some of Shakespeare’s other female characters, Shakespeare still expresses the opinion that women are not the “weaker sex,” but in a more subtle way. By comparing Hamlet’s madness to Ophelia’s madness, it becomes clear that their insanities are on opposite sides of the spectrum, but affect them in an equally negative way, because both characters die in the end as a result of their madness. Instead of raising the women characters up to the level of the men in terms of power as in other works, Shakespeare instead brings down the male character, Hamlet, to the same level as Ophelia by giving each of them equally devastating conditions, and this more subtly implies their equality. Though different, Hamlet’s aggressive madness and Ophelia’s regressive madness are both genuine afflictions, as evidenced by their actions throughout the play that demonstrate their lack of control over their mental…

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