While Shakespeare’s Hamlet intrigues readers with a captivating story line, with further analysis of his rhetoric, readers can glimpse at his outlook on some of the many facets of humanity; specifically, revenge and misogyny.
To begin with, revenge is a very predominant theme in this play mainly because of the importance given to it through the main character and many of the foil characters. In particular, however, Hamlet’s own need for revenge reveals a great deal about Shakespeare’s idea of revenge and that the need for it can cause people to lose balance in their lives. Throughout his conquest to kill Claudius and avenge his father, Hamlet’s balance and quality in his life slowly deteriorates with each progression he …show more content…
One instance in which the woman is portrayed as weak is during Hamlet’s soliloquy where he shows his frustration with himself in not progressing fast enough to avenge his father. During this, Hamlet states,
“Why, what an ass I am! This is most brave,/ That I, the son of a dear father murder’d/ Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,/ Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,/ And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,/ A scullion”(II, ii, 50).
Here, Hamlet holds a very disgusted and frustrated tone pertaining to his lack of progress in avenging his father. He calls himself an “ass,” which, clearly, is not a pleasant way to describe someone, and continues criticizing himself with a simile in which he compares himself to a whore, drab, and kitchen servant, all of which are female jobs. Hamlet creates a connection between an “ass” and the female jobs by associating them both over his shameful actions. In other words, he portrays the jobs females do as synonyms for “ass”. This shows how Hamlet, and most likely everyone during this time period, views the jobs women do as unrespectable; therefore, making them the inferior gender. …show more content…
Following the news of Ophelia’s death, Laertes says,
“And therefore I forbid my tears. But yet/ It is our trick; nature her custom holds,/ Let shame say what it will. When these are gone,/ The woman will be out” (IV. vii. 100).
Here, through using a metonymy appropriate to his own views, Laertes suggests that crying for a loved one is a sign of weakness; therefore, it is a feminine trait. He says after he is done crying “the woman will be out,” substituting the phrase “weakness” or “frailty,” with the term “woman”. For Laertes, he recognizes these terms as very similar to one another, and through this, Laertes draws a close relationship between weakness and a woman, suggesting that the woman is naturally weak and frail, further enhancing the misogynistic theme in this play.
However, it is not only the men that view women as weaker. It appears that the women themselves are so overwhelmed by the misogynistic views in this society, that they themselves have come to accept that they are the lesser gender.
Intro. To Quote
After Laertes gives advice to Ophelia to stay away from Hamlet, she says,
“ ’’Tis in my memory lock’d,/ And you yourself shall keep the key of it”(I.iii.17).