Essay On Ophelia's Role In Hamlet

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At the time of Shakespeare’s plays, the role of women was seen as obsolete or unencouraged. Women were not to be educated, they were to obey their father’s wishes then their husbands, and they were grouped into the social class of their husbands. Women also rarely left the comfort of their homes; except to attend church then return straight home thereafter. The female roles in plays were played by younger boys. In medieval times, it was considered to be disgraceful or embarrassing for women to be on stage. “The women of Shakespeare’s Hamlet are characterised as weak and ineffectual. They submit to their male counterparts and are led by them” (Tuohy). The role of women in Hamlet is to obey the opinion of their fathers and husbands and do as they are told.

Ophelia, she is the daughter of Polonius and sister to Laertes. She is then perceived as a young, beautiful, innocent
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Gertrude learned that she was able to state her own opinion and make her own decisions. Ophelia learned that without the continued guidance and opinion of her father and brother, she no longer had a purpose for life. Both of these women lived in the same castle, ate the same food, and lived very similar lives, although they acted at a time, completely opposite from one another. It seems odd that the role of women during this period and in the play was seen as unimportant and without a purpose, to an extent. Women were seen more as a “pretty face” rather than a human-being. Ultimately, the role of women in Hamlet is to obey the opinion of their fathers and husbands and do as they are told. As we saw in the play, Gertrude always listened to the opinion of Claudius, up until her death. Ophelia also always listened to her father and brother and valued their opinions when making her own decisions throughout her

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