Essay about Analysis Of Shakespeare 's Hamlet By William Shakespeare

Essay about Analysis Of Shakespeare 's Hamlet By William Shakespeare

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During the time period between the 14th and 17th centuries, a cultural revolution, known as the Renaissance, took place. One of the topics of this cultural revolution that is widely controversial is the role and treatment of women. The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare features many characters that are perceived as strong, independent leads, such as King Claudius, and Polonius. However, in the same work, Shakespeare also composes characters of lesser strength and independence. The character that seems to fall victim to this view of weakness and foolishness is the female character, Ophelia. Many characters in the story push her around, do not allow her make independent decisions, and take advantage of her naïve nature. Ophelia allows this deception to occur because she believes that it is inevitable, because of the cultural standard of the time. Ophelia, like the majority of women during the Renaissance, is viewed as a weak female, and therefore, characters in Hamlet walk all over her and apply her to their mindless games.
During the Renaissance time period, women were submissive to men; obeying the orders of the men in their lives. Celibacy became the cultural norm, and women generally accepted this ideal because they were told to do so. This ideal was so extreme, that a daughter was addressed as ‘virgin’ in daily conversation. In today’s society, one would never call a young girl ‘virgin’ in a casual exchange, because it is just not appropriate, as this term is used in reference to someone’s personal life. The violation of this celibacy brought negative reflection upon not only the woman, but her male kin as well, such as her father and brothers. The punishment for a woman having sexual relations before marriage consisted of d...


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...his daughter’s heart though this kind of torture? This action reveals Polonius’s motives to be for his own personal gain.
Ophelia’s sexuality is taken advantage of many times within the play. Laertes uses it to benefit himself through material gain, and Polonius uses it to get inside of Hamlet’s mind. Ophelia is a pawn in the games of her brother and father. Hamlet is a reflection of the time in which it was written. Ophelia is a representation of the typical, unmarried daughter during the Renaissance. Ophelia’s femininity conforms to the female gender stereotypes by allowing her to be submissive to the men in her life. The character of Ophelia as a whole, conforms to the cultural norms of the Renaissance time period. Her actions and reactions leave the reader wondering if underneath her naïve exterior, she is really the foolish, weak female she is perceived to be.

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