The Concept Of Femininity In Hamlet

1421 Words 6 Pages
Throughout the course of time, the concept of femininity has evolved as women in today’s society experience better freedom and respect than what they did years ago. For instance, during the Renaissance, women were considered inferior to the men; there were restrictions on their education and they had no voice in the public (Alchin). However, modern women have the right of equality, education and voting. Femininity, according to Oxford Dictionary, is defined as “the quality of being female”. The concept of femininity can vary from one individual to another and there are many factors that influence a woman’s femininity. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the major female characters; Gertrude and Ophelia portray the Renaissance ideal of femininity; …show more content…
Love in Ophelia’s life brings her more emotional struggles than the happiness for which she searches. Despite the constant insults by Prince Hamlet, and her father’s warnings such as “Ophelia, / Do not believe his [promises]; for they are [not what they seem]” (1.3.126-127), she keeps loving him. Furthermore, Prince Hamlet tells her that “I loved you not. Later in the play after Ophelia becomes insane, due to rejected love and her father’s death, “her words and deeds shows that she has experienced some great misfortune” (Maki). She starts to sing songs about death and lost love. Ophelia’s actions and words show how much she loved Prince Hamlet and the great impact it had on her. Her madness, along with the unfortunate events in her life leads her to put an end to her own life as she drowns in a river. Nevertheless, both Gertrude and Ophelia, like other women during the Renaissance, idealizes femininity by the presence of male figures in their …show more content…
Polonius also says “you speak like a green girl” (1.3.101) which shows that he treats her like an innocent child. Ophelia’s life revolves around Polonius and Prince Hamlet and when she realizes that she cannot always have faith in males, especially when Prince Hamlet says “I loved you not” (3.1.119) and her father dies, she goes insane. Therefore, it is clear that the sufferings in Ophelia’s life are imposed by the male figures of the play. Pursuing this further, it is obvious that males are advantages for Gertrude as she becomes the Queen of England by marrying King Hamlet and is not affected by rules of the society, even when she marries her bother in law. It is also clear that males are a disadvantage in Ophelia’s life as she is asked to reject her love by her father and brother and her love for Prince Hamlet leads her to insanity. However, the society also plays a major role in these women’s

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