Preview
Preview

Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women Essay

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1125 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

As Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the fiction was set in the Renaissance era and therefore the persona of women was reflective of that period. The natural stereotype of that time viewed women as weak, fickle, and dependent of the men in their society and subject to the decisions that men make for them. It was an exceedingly common depiction and very rarely was it proven wrong to the men of that time. Women’s rights were nonexistent in this time period so it wasn’t unusual for the portrayal of women to be so negative and offensive. Given that women of that age had known nothing else they attempted to fit the stereotype to please the ‘natural order’.
The role women played in Hamlet was complicated. Their distinct purpose as characters in the tragedy was to illustrate Hamlet’s warped view of women and give the audience an obvious understanding of Hamlets madness and distress. Hamlets strong unwavering judgment of women was caused by his mother. He had been delusional about women by Gertrude’s actions. He is consumed by the absurdity of his mother’s love for his uncle and is justified to feel disgust towards his mother, her actions and implications and in doing so provoked hamlet’s unforgivable treatment of all women as a whole. Although Hamlet gives off the illusion that Shakespeare is enormously disgusted by the female race Hamlet’s outlook doesn’t really reflect Shakespeare’s attitude of women.
In Gertrude’s choice to marry so soon after her husband’s death she transgresses the patriarchal bound of femininity. She refuses to remain in passive grief and obedient devotion to his memory. Gertrude’s sin was her inaction. She was willing to accept Claudius and didn’t think twice of rejecting him. In Hamlet’s eyes his father was the very d...


... middle of paper ...


...er of. Only in her insanity does she live up to Hamlets false perceptions of her as a provocative woman as she sings of lost virtue and sinful matters.
When Ophelia commits suicide Shakespeare proves he doesn’t only view women as passive and accepting. In Ophelia’s self intended death she refuses to live miserably in a life that denies her. In her death she lashes out at the world accusing it of being so in tolerable that even death was preferable to living. In Ophelia’s character Shakespeare places vulnerability on one hand yet a kind of nobility in the other demonstrating his opinion of women is not of single mind and temperament but each character has her own vices and virtues, her own ideas and beliefs. Shakespeare portrays women as both, passive and active, disgraceful and noble, apathetic and loving; they are themselves.



Works Cited
Hamlet by Shakespeare


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women and Sovereign Issues in Macbeth Essay - “Almost without exception, people feel constrained to play roles in accordance with what they believe to be the expectations of others” (Asp). During odd or unnatural events, these stereotypical expectations can be overshadowed and conquered by the intense desire for power or wealth. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Shakespeare alters the physical attributes associated with specific genders in order to illustrate the progression of a character’s actions and thoughts. Throughout history, stereotypical profiles of what a man or woman should be have determined how they are perceived by others....   [tags: william shakespeare, macbeth, duncan]
:: 8 Works Cited
1497 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Portrayal of Women in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Portrayal of Women in Shakespeare's Hamlet   Shakespeare was possibly the first writer to portray women as strong, crafty, and intelligent. However, he has still received criticism from feminists about his representation of women. Some have even accused him of misogyny. There are only two female characters in the play Hamlet - Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and Ophelia, daughter of Polonius. Any debate based upon gender roles must therefore focus upon these two characters. Shakespeare portrays Gertrude as a woman of power and intelligence - she was Queen for a considerable amount of time - we can safely assume at least 30 years - and she is asked advice on matters by King Claudius - "Do you t...   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
:: 1 Works Cited
1229 words
(3.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Portrayal of Women in William Shakespeare's Plays Essay - William Shakespeare's characterization of women varies immensely from one comedy to another. In his works, Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing, he portrays both dominant and submissive women. Ultimately, Shakespeare examines the complexity of women by displaying the vast array of attitudes, emotions, and their treatment and reaction to men as well as refuting the typical subservient wife role. In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, the difficulties of marriage and submission take center stage....   [tags: Female Women Shakespeare Essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
3553 words
(10.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Women´s Portrayal in Shakespeare´s Othello Essay - The play Othello is presented as a male-dominated society where women are only recognized as property; objects to own and to bear children. Women in the Elizabethan society and in Shakespeare society were not seen as equal to men and were expected to be loyal to their husbands, be respectful, and to not go against their husbands judgements or actions. Shakespeare presents Desdemona, Emilia , and Bianca as women in the Elizabethan time where they were judged based on their class, mortality, and intelligence....   [tags: Relationships, Ellizabethan, Society]
:: 1 Works Cited
1426 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Shakespeare´s Portrayal of Beatrice - Beatrice’s comical nature and extrovert personality allows Shakespeare to illustrate a persona to which the Elizabethan audience would not have been able to relate. Hamada states that ‘…imposed on women three virtues-obedience, silence, and chastity’. Beatrice is a character who rebels from these expectations. Contemporary audiences would have been shocked and humoured by the fact that Shakespeare allows a female character to be so vocal in the play. However, a twenty first century audience would find her to be relatable as many modern females have similar personality traits to Beatrice....   [tags: gender equality, women, Elizabethan era]
:: 3 Works Cited
1083 words
(3.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies Essay - The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies In Shakespeare’s tragedies and his plays in general, we can come across several types of female characters. Their influence with other characters and their purpose or role, often underestimated like women themselves, will be this essay’s main subject. Women in Shakespearean plays have always had important roles, sometimes even the leading role. Whether they create the main conflicts and base of the plays, or bring up interesting moral and cultural questions, they have always been put in challenging situations....   [tags: Tragedy Plays Shakespeare Women Essays] 1710 words
(4.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Feminist Criticism and Shakespeare's Work Essay - Shakespeare’s works had few females because women were not allowed to act in London in the late 1500s and early 1600s. Disregarding the standards imposed on women of his time, Shakespeare created many female characters that were strong-willed, intelligent, and daring. Shakespeare resided in a world dominated by men, in which women were essentially the means of exchange in power relationships among those men. Feminist criticism is interested in marriage and, gender relations, and family structures (Shakespeare, William)....   [tags: gender relations, women, Macbeth]
:: 11 Works Cited
1877 words
(5.4 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
William Shakespeare's Portrayal of Macbeth Essay - William Shakespeare's Portrayal of Macbeth Macbeth was written by Shakespeare between 1606-1611. The story takes place in Scotland, where a brave soldier ‘Macbeth’ is predicted to become king. After being urged on by his wife, Macbeth kills the king and claims his right to the throne. After a few days’ people begin to become suspicious and eventually Macbeth has is comeuppance. Shakespeare wrote in a time where women were inferior to men, people lived in a patriarchal society....   [tags: Papers] 1794 words
(5.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on The Role of Women in Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Play - The Role of Women in Hamlet in William Shakespeare's Play Gertrude and Ophelia, the only two women in Hamlet, reflect the general status of women in Elizabethan Times. Women were suppressed by the males in their lives (brothers, fathers, and partners) and were always inferior. Ophelia and Gertrude have little or no power due to restricted legal, social and economic rights that were found in Elizabethan society. The male characters in Hamlet reflect this sexist view point, represented by Hamlet’s judgement that “frailty, thy name is woman”....   [tags: Papers Females Shakespeare Oppression] 2037 words
(5.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Shakespeare's Treatment of Women in His Plays Essays - Some critics and other readers of Shakespeare's plays argue that he treats women with disrespect. However, he actually treats them with a great amount of respect. Shakespeare has been criticized by many modern writers for his portrayal of women. The critics and other readers of Shakespearean plays think that he treats women badly for a few reasons, one being that most of the women in his plays die a tragic death. One example is in the play, Julius Caesar. In this specific play, Portia who is Julius Caesar's wife kills herself by swallowing hot coals....   [tags: American Literature] 1026 words
(2.9 pages)
Good Essays [preview]