Feminist Criticism In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Frailty, thy name is woman”- Hamlet
The above quote from hamlet clearly states the position of women in a patriarchal society. Woman are considered physically and morally weak. They are considered as beings of less intelligence and have lesser understanding of the world. According to (Z., 2011) , studies related to heroines of any play are somewhat underrated, even though the plot is strengthened due to female characters. This means that women are somewhat under-represented in plays. They are considered as secondary characters to men and are only in the storyline to substantiate a male character’s life.
Literature Review According to (Wilfred.L.Guerin, 2005), feminism is not just about white, educated and heterosexual women but it is about
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He states that after the death of his father, Hamlet reduces the female characters to mere archetypes that are incapable of thinking for themselves. (Dorrey, 2013)
Women are merely treated as objects of desire. (Lacan, 1977), in his essay states that this play shows the tragedy of human desire. He calls Ophelia a mere bait for Hamlet and is just as object of desire for him. She is considered as a being with no feelings and just use.

Feminist Criticism Feminist criticism examines ways through which literature either reinforces or undermines various forms of oppression on women. (L, 2006). Feminism basically focusses on something that is absent rather than something that’s present. Unlike other approaches, this one is considered a highly political approach in a male dominated society. (Wilfred.L.Guerin, 2005)
There are three basic waves of feminism that are followed by theorists worldwide.
• First wave feminism (late 1700s-early 1900s.)
• Second wave feminism (early 1960s-late 1970s)
• Third wave feminism (early
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We are not told about why the mother might have married Claudius in such a hurry or why she thought it was the right action later on. We however, are only told about Hamlet’s thoughts about it. (Dorrey, 2013). This justifies the fact that male characters in the play were more prominent than the female ones.

Feminist approach and Hamlet:
Hamlet, a play that is dominated by male characters has only two female characters that are somehow victimized by the men in their lives. Gertrude is Hamlet’s mother and the queen of Denmark. She is given an important enough position as the mother of Hamlet and wife of old Hamlet and King Claudius. However, it must be noted that she still hardly has any lines in the play. Since she doesn’t have many lines in the play, her character is shaped by male characters like Hamlet, the ghost and Claudius. In the play, the ghost directly blames Gertrude instead of Claudius. He states, “Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught: leave her to heaven And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge To prick and sting her” (Act 1, Scene

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