Women In Shakespeare's Hamlet

Better Essays
The first children’s toy with adult features made its first debut in 1959. In New York City the newest doll for little girls around the world hit the shelves at the American Toy Fair. Barbie is society 's paradigm of perfection. She is idolized for her sexuality and encourages little girls to become materialistic; much like the roles of women in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, women are shown in a derogatory and misogynistic way. Hamlet captures the relationships and the struggle for identity during a time of great loss among the castle of Elsinore. The play stems from the murder of the beloved King Hamlet and the remarriage of Queen Gertrude to King Hamlet’s brother Claudius. The Prince of Denmark spends a great deal of time grieving, in …show more content…
Hamlet shows that he has strong standards for the women in his life when he puts on the play. He casts the Player Queen as the ideal female for Gertrude to aspire to be. Hamlet asks his mother how she likes the play, referring to the Player Queen, and she replies dryly, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks” (3.2.212). The Prince mocks the Queen’s decisions and uses the Player as the expectation he has for the women of the castle. The idea of perfection is ultimately impossible to reach, and is often placed on the women in Hamlet’s life just to satisfy him. Shakespeare’s depiction of women in the Elizabethan era was shown throughout the play Hamlet to assess the roles of gender. The playwright wants to awaken the awareness of the inequalities that women face, and the effects of these problems. Hamlet was deeply interested in the various sexual affairs of the castle, it led to the heightening of his madness. The author shows Hamlet’s involvement of sexuality to examine the social construct that is virginity and to highlight the high expectations men have for women. Shakespeare teaches the reader of inequalities in the time period, and displays that with total dependence comes psychological madness. Today, women still face immense prejudice, but change is evolving for the better. The fight for equality lives on, and the pioneers of feminism have made the world exceedingly better. Although, we still have a long way to go. Shakespeare has brought his outlook upon the readers to bring

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Because of her sister, Bianca knows how society feels about women who try to fight gender roles. After witnessing the challenging task of finding Katherina a husband, Bianca knows she does not want to have the same fate. Because of this realization, Bianca endeavors to hide her true personality and uses subtle manipulation to receive the results she desires. In act two when Hortensio and Lucentio are begging for her love, she does not give them an immediate answer. Instead, she manipulates both men for her own pleasure (Shakespeare 43-44).…

    • 1223 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s play was considered it to be an erotic and violent piece of literature because of the relationships shown throughout, including Titania and Oberon, Helena and Demetrius, and Hermia and Lysander. Every king wants to find his queen, but that is not always the case in literature. Some may say these lovers have a wonderful relationship, but the way Oberon treats Titania shows that it is anything but perfect. This king has major jealousy issues and not only is that a problem for her, but for her son as well. Oberon quickly becomes jealous that Titania is giving all her attention to…

    • 1025 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The women in Hamlet are portrayed as weak, but are crucially important in the plot of the play. Ophelia and Gertrude both have a strong influence on the men’s actions and are used to shape Hamlet’s personality. We learn how Hamlet reacts when in love and how he acts towards his family. Although they are important characters, Shakespeare still displays them as frail, powerless and manipulated by the men around them. Hamlet often uses misogyny throughout the play and makes his negative feelings towards women obvious.…

    • 1003 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This fault forms the basis for both Hamlet’s and the Ghost of Old Hamlet’s convictions of her and Claudius’ acts of incest and adultery. In Heilbrun’s literary criticism of Gertrude’s character, she agrees that the queen’s biggest flaw, her lust, carries great importance in the plot; however, Gertrude’s passion and lust should not define her character, as she also exhibits depth and intelligence throughout the majority of the play. I agree with this criticism; Gertrude conveys herself as a passionate woman whose lust drives her to hastily marry Claudius following Old Hamlet’s death, thus flawing her character and deeming her as dependent upon her husband(s). During the closet scene, Hamlet points out to the queen that her need for sexual passion has driven her from Old Hamlet, the “Hyperion” (3.4.66), to her new husband, “like a mildewed ear” (3.4.74), and that she has abandoned logic and reason in exchange for indulgence into these passions. Gertrude makes no objection to his accusations, proclaiming “Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul / And there I see such black and grained spots / As will not leave their tinct” (3.4.100-102).…

    • 1024 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Shakespeare enjoyed pushing political boundaries. Male actors playing women roles were common in the time of the Renaissance. Shakespeare decided to have a male actor preform as Rosalind and then cross dress into Ganymede who is a male character. The switch of gender could be seen quite humorous to the audience since it was unusual and unique. The lesson of Shakespeare’s script is quite ironic since the play shows Rosalind finding freedom and showing the oppression that is placed on woman.…

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare is about a prince of Denmark named Hamlet. The play begins with his arrival home when he learns that his father is dead and his uncle Claudius has taken the throne by marrying his mother Gertrude. Hamlet soon learns that his father was actually murdered by his treacherous uncle and starts plotting Claudius’ death in order to avenge his father. Through the feminist theory, one is able to understand the struggles that women in Hamlet face in this particular era. The feminist theory aims to determine the amount of gender inequality, the status of women, and whether they’re oppressed by society.…

    • 1233 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Women's Sexuality

    • 1238 Words
    • 5 Pages

    One aspect that without doubts was of central importance in the discourse about gender and about why women were considered unruly and a danger was women’s sexuality, which threatened Early Modern English men and husbands, including Leontes and other male characters in The Winter’s Tale. Because of the separation of the worlds of men and women, the lack of communication and knowledge of each other led the men to fear and doubt all that involved the feminine sexual realm. In particular, men thought that women’s empowerment through sexuality would destroy the existing social patriarchal order. The consequence were the double standards in the treatment of male and feminine sexuality, which can be examined in the use of distinguished insults for…

    • 1238 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The way Shakespeare is portraying Bianca is also sympathetic, when Cassio treats her in a very unpleasant way, it's clear that Shakespeare's making a point about how women get used throughout the play. It is the perfect example of how status defines the way people treated each other in Elizabethan society. Regarding the fact that Bianca was also a woman as well as courtesan, did not make her journey any less difficult. Her expression of sexuality was seen as a threat to the men. All men assumed that Venetian women were inherently promiscuous and were not meant to be trusted, so women were also ordered not to act that way to avoid any shame upon the family.…

    • 834 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Cordelia is not the only one who receives power from marriage, her two sisters Regan and Goneril do as well as they marry the dukes of Albany and Cornwall. The theme of power through marriage is an extremely misogynistic view expressed by Shakespeare throughout the play as it demonstrates the traditional and outdated gender roles for women. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, it is made apparent that only men are capable in possessing true power and women may only receive it if it is handed to them. When power is presented to someone, it builds an unstable foundation that is destined for…

    • 1584 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In the novel, House on Mango Street, the distinction of sexuality defines the traditional feminine roles women play. We percieve the meaning of how men recongize women; through “prettiness”. Many women in the novel are physically and sexually abused by men because they feel like they need to be “accepted” in order to succeed in their society. In my opinion, women’s actions reflect on the way they want men to treat them. They are not obligated to do anything, but they still bow down to them.…

    • 1343 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays

Related Topics