Gender And Gender Roles In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Gender roles have evolved in contemporary society to include women as equals to men, however, gender roles were very one sided at the time in which Shakespeare 's play Hamlet was written. Hamlet was written in the early 1600’s which was a time when women were seen as the lesser of the two sexes. Women were seen as dependent on men are were uneducated. The misogynistic beliefs of Shakespeare 's time are prevalent throughout Hamlet. Throughout the play, the two female characters are portrayed as overly emotional and dependent on men to make their decisions. The female characters never make any major decisions which advance the plot of the play and have very little impact on the play itself. Within Hamlet, the male and female characters are not …show more content…
Both Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s fathers were murdered by someone close to them and both experience a tremendous amount of grief which eventually leads to the deterioration of their mental states. Gertrude and Claudius accept Hamlet while he grieves his father’s death but shun and are distrustful of Ophelia while she grieves her father 's death. While amongst the royal family and members of the court, the King say “ ‘Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet, to give these mourning duties to your father” (I.ii.90-92). This quotation shows how the king is accepting of Hamlet’s grief and even how he commends Hamlet for it. The king is very accepting of Hamlet’s grief but he believes that Ophelia has gone crazy over her grief. After Ophelia has finished singing, Claudius says to Horatio “ follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you. O, this is the poison of deep grief” (IIII.iiiii.79-80). Claudius believes that Ophelia has gone crazy over her grief and sends Horatio to watch her. The way that Hamlet and Ophelia are treated because of their grief shows how women were seen as overly emotional and unable to care for …show more content…
Both Hamlet and Laertes deal with the grief of their murdered fathers by plotting and enacting revenge against the people who are responsible for their father 's murders. Driven by grief, Hamlet conducts a play of his own in order to guilt Claudius into admitting his guilt. After Laertes learns of his father 's death, he is hell bent on revenge which eventually leads to the duel between Hamlet and himself. The way that Ophelia deals with their grief is much different than how Hamlet and Laertes deal with their grief. Ophelia is so overwhelmed with her grief that she goes mad and eventually kills herself. While Laertes and Claudius are plotting their revenge against Hamlet, Gertrude enters and says “ one woe doth tread upon another’s heel, so fast they follow. Your sister’s drowned, Laertes” (IIII.iiiiiii.187-188). While the male characters are able to channel their emotions, Ophelia becomes impulsive and kills herself because she is unable to deal with the grief of her father 's death. The ways in which the characters of the play deal with their grief reinforces traditional gender roles of the time in which the play was written. Men were seen as the stronger of the two genders which is supported by the fact that Laertes and Hamlet are able to channel their grief through revenge while Ophelia is unable to channel her grief and commits

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