Hamlet Feminist Analysis

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Throughout history, women were not considered significant in regards to social, economic and political aspects of society. As a result, many works in literature were reflective of this diminutive role many women displayed. In support of this trend, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet encourages the dramatization of feminine qualities in context of a male dominated patriarchal society. The main female characters, both Gertrude and Ophelia, are portrayed as passively weak, reliant and subservient. The men in their lives have complete control over them, forcing them to become vulnerable and powerless.
Obedience to a male figure is often regarded as a feminine quality that is displayed by Ophelia. Ophelia proclaims to her father of her personal feelings
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Ophelia was already suffering from a nervous breakdown from Hamlet’s insults of becoming a nun but, Polonius’s death pushed her over the edge. She became so isolated and lost in her thoughts until “her garments, heavy with their drink/ Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay/ To muddy death” (4.7.181-183). Ophelia’s suicide is often regarded as a sign of weakness due to the cowardly connotation associated within that time period. However, her death is due to her loss of dependency. Hamlet pushing Ophelia away, Laetres gone, and Polonius’s death, all contribute to cause Ophelia to experience complete isolation from all of the male figures in her life. She loses her sense of direction since no one is there to instruct her on how to live her life which inevitably causes her demise.
The other female character of Hamlet, Gertrude, is perceived as a woman who lacks morality due to her sudden marriage with Claudius, her former brother-in-law. To marry your brother’s widow was considered incest during Shakespeare’s time which explains Hamlet’s disturbance in regards to Claudius and Gertrude’s marriage. Hamlet’s fury toward his mother, Gertrude, is displayed when he is speaking to himself and arguing that she is “frailty, thy name is woman” (1.2.146). Not only does this demonstrate the extent of Hamlet’s anger, but his interpretations of how all women are generally

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