Hamlet And Big Nurse In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

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Sexism is the root of many problems in society, and this paper is going to expose the root of many of the ideas about women that society has created. It is a reasonable assumption that many pieces of classic literature, read for many generations keep many negative stereotypes about women alive. Some examples of characters that embody these negative female stereotypes are Gertrude from Hamlet and Big Nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both of these novels include women in positions of authority, that lose a bit of their power because of the men surrounding them. Gertrude is ridiculed for being too expressive of her sexuality which seems to make the people of her kingdom believe she is not a worthy leader, while Big Nurse is ridiculed …show more content…
She is completely dependent on the men in her life because of the way she feels the need to immediately remarry as soon as her husband died. Hamlet sees the actions of Gertrude following his father’s death as so awful that they lead him to condemn all women when he states “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (I.ii.146). This statement reinforces the common literary stereotype that all women are all gentle fragile people. Although her marriage to Claudius is seen as terrible and adulterous by her son, Hamlet, it does not affect her relationship with Claudius in the slightest. That means that she still thinks she can and should depend on Claudius for any problems she has.
This is exemplified in the play when Hamlet confronts Gertrude and entrusts her with the task of not telling Polonius what they had spoken about. Gertrude says to Hamlet “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.” (III.iv.197) after saying this she goes straight to Claudius about her encounter, showing she needs a man to get her through this situation. This dependence on a man is a common trait in many old female characters. It reinforces the idea that men are stronger than women and women are basically powerless without a

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