The Feminist Role Of Women In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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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. With regards to Hamlet, this theory indicates that the female characters from Hamlet are indeed facing …show more content…
For the majority of the play, Hamlet feels that the wedding between Gertrude and Claudius was a betrayal to him and his father. His anger and frustration that he feels for Gertrude soon starts to affect his relationship with Ophelia because he no longer has any faith in women as he takes on a misogynist perspective. Hamlet unfortunately takes advantage of Ophelia’s obedience toward men as he starts taunting her with cruel words to degrade her mentally. “Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them” (III.i.137-140). In his anger, Hamlet implies that Ophelia 's status equates to that of a prostitute. He deems that women like her are creatures that use their beauty and skin to manipulate men to do their every bidding. Ophelia, who feels inconsolable and distraught by his words, surprisingly does nothing and endures it. “Deprived of thought, sexuality, language, Ophelia’s story becomes the Story of O” (Henderson). In other words, Ophelia is unable to justify her actions and disputes with Hamlet ultimately showing to Hamlet that she’s just a mere object for him to entertain with. “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs” (III.ii.119). Hamlet teases Ophelia sexually and inappropriately in front of a large group of people. Astoundingly, …show more content…
Gertrude fits this description well because she makes rash decisions without thinking things over. Not even a year after King Hamlet’s death and she chooses to marry Claudius, without knowing how treacherous and ruthless he is. The reliance and relationship she has with Claudius clouds her thoughts causing her to easily succumb to his temptation. These rash decisions hinder her relationship with other characters such as Hamlet. For instance, Hamlet in anger shouts at Gertrude, “A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, as kill a king, and marry with his brother” (III.iv.28-29). Gertrude for the majority of her life was dependent on King Hamlet to make decisions for her. When her husband passed away, Gertrude immediately married Claudius in hopes that she won’t be alone. It is only after Hamlet’s speech does Gertrude start to realize the sin she committed and how she betrayed her former husband by marrying his brother. Gertrude’s relationship with Claudius causes her to also be ignorant in important scenes, which eventually leads to her demise. In Act V Scene V, Gertrude does not realize Claudius’ true intentions to kill Hamlet because she believes that Claudius is an honourable man. She is blinded by what she claims as love, causing her to make poor decisions. Her failure to grasp the truth eventually

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