The Treatment Of Women In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Superior Essays
Olivia Seeney
ENGL 377 Shakespeare
10/16/2015
The Treatment of Women in Hamlet “Frailty thy name is women” (Shakespeare)! This line from William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” perfectly captures the way women were described in this play. Throughout this play, the main character, Hamlet, consistently patronizes and belittles both his mother and his previous lover. The two women that are introduced in Hamlet represent two different stereotypical female roles. Ophelia, being the perfect and pure exemplar of a woman and Gertrude, being the disloyal and negative portrayal of a woman. However, to the male characters in Hamlet the actions of these women do not matter, both women are treated with scorn and mistrust. Shakespeare may have used this display
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His views of women parallels with that of Eve and her role in the Fall of Man. Throughout the play Hamlet and the other male characters in the play treat Ophelia and Gertrude with scorn and contempt based on their actions. Although Ophelia appears to have done nothing wrong she is still punished by her father, her brother, and her lover. Gertrude on the other hand, marries her late husband’s husband not long after her husband dies. Her unfaithfulness and disloyalty to Hamlet’s father causes him to scold her and to look at treat her with cruelty. However severe her crimes were Hamlet should not have treated his mother with such disregard and hatred. Ophelia, on the other hand, did not deserve to be treated with any injustice, she still loved Hamlet very much and did nothing to harm anyone. The treatment of women in Hamlet suggests that Shakespeare may have disliked females or regarded them as untrustworthy. Overall, the cruel treatment of women in Hamlet eludes to the way Shakespeare viewed women and the role of Eve in The Garden of …show more content…
Ouzounian, Richard. "Feminism, Shakespeare, sexuality and gender; Author, director intrigued by interpretation and 'misogyny ' in famed plays, 'real and imaginary '." The Toronto Star (Toronto, Ontario) 2014: Canada In Context. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
2. Jaija, M. Ayub. “A Feminist Reading of Shakespearean Tragedies: Frailty, Thy Name is Woman.” Pakistan Journal of Commerce and Social Sciences Vol. 8. 1 (2014): 228-237. Web
3. Singh, Rahul. “Shakespeare’s Plays: Men Celebrated, Women Despised?.” Language in India Vol 14. 2 (Feb 2014) Web.
4. Findlay, Alison. “Women in Shakespeare: A dictionary.” A&C Black (2010) Web.
5. Women in Hamlet. http://artsites.ucsc.edu/faculty/bierman/elsinore/women/womenPortraits.html, Web. September 28, 2015
6. Lewis, Liz. Shakespeare’s Women. http://www.literature-study-online.com/essays/shakespeare_women.html, November 2001. Web. September 28,

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