Gender Stereotypes In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1486 Words 6 Pages
For many years, society has separated women into a certain stereotypical role in society. In our male-dominated culture, women are often viewed as weak, shallow, and dependent. Many of the stereotypes are magnified by religion, literature, social media, and cultural beliefs. Around the 1960’s, the feminist movement was developed in the U.S. Women from all over the U.S were determined to change society 's views and redefining gender roles. Therefore, the feminist lens was developed, allowing people to analyze literature and point out women 's roles in books. In Hamlet, Shakespeare creates two female characters that are significant in the play. Gertrude, who is Hamlet’s mother, and Ophelia who is Hamlet 's lover, are both presented in stereotypical …show more content…
Ophelia is suddenly shut out of Hamlet’s life in the worst way possible without any consideration of how she would feel. In act three, scene two, as Hamlet and his family and friends prepare to watch a play, he decides to sit next to Ophelia and flirt with her. The conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia is simple and lustful. Hamlet’s previous behavior towards Ophelia is never acknowledged by him. This shows that Ophelia is expected as a woman to oppress her feelings and behave the way she was expected to by being submissive. After the death of Polonius, Ophelia’s flood of emotions could no longer be contained. She truly had no one to turn to for support. Out of anger and frustration, Ophelia’s mind soon cracks into madness. In act four, scene five, Ophelia uses flowers to throw them at everyone around her. Claudius and Laertes suspects that since Ophelia is a pretty woman,[who is in there eye’s delicate,] is just too weak to handle anything. Ophelia even warns the King and Queen about her feelings of attempting suicide by saying, “but I cannot choose but weep to think they would lay him i’ the cold ground” (V. vi. 65). Society only views Ophelia as just another grieving weak woman. When in reality, Ophelia is driven mad from unrealistic expectations of a woman in a male-dominated world. After Ophelia’s death, Laertes weeps for his dead sister by saying, “When these are gone, / The woman will be …show more content…
Gertrude does not seem like the ignorant women Hamlet claims her to be. In act three, scene five, Hamlet has made a decision to confront his mother by criticizing her. When Hamlet attempts to talk to his mother, he does so in a manner that is threatening. Gertrude cries for help, believing that her life is in danger. Anyone who is Gertrude 's position would certainly fear for their life as well. Hamlet proves himself capable of murder after he kills Polonius. Gertrude loves Hamlet and is deeply concerned about his mental health. Nevertheless, Gertrude is also kept in the dark from the truth. She was uninformed of Claudius 's successful plot in murdering her previous husband. Since Gertrude is a female, she is expected to be submissive to Claudius. In act three, scene one, the king asks Gertrude to leave the room so he could have a private discussion with Ophelia and Polonius. Gertrude replies by saying, “I shall obey you” (III.i.39 ). At the end of the play, Claudius warns Gertrude not to drink from the poison cup. Gertrude drinks from the cup anyways and dies as a result. In a feminist perspective, the result of not obeying a man ends with tragedy. Gertrude may have known Hamlet better than anyone else, however, she is repressed and controlled by the manipulating hands of

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