A Social Commentary Of Shakespeare 's Hamlet

1301 Words6 Pages
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a social commentary of both England and Europe around the time of its circulation. During William Shakespeare’s time, women in England had very few rights; men had superiority and authority over everything, including the women. Shakespeare connected Ophelia, a female character from Hamlet, to an era where women has very few rights and had the duty to obey the men in their lives. A women in Europe or even England, if unmarried, they obeyed their brothers and father and when married they were obligated to obey their husbands. As a woman, Ophelia had few alternatives in a patriarchal society that divided her from Hamlet who could change his fate at any given time. Ophelia was a proper woman of her time and she tried to do what was right but she was also a submissive to her father, brother, and the king and continued to fall into their schemes. Even though she believed that Hamlet was true to her, when her father told her to stay away from him she simply replied “I shall obey, my lord.” (1.3.135). Another issue that women had to face was political power, in that time period, a women was not accepted in a role of a men and the people of Denmark were uncomfortable with a queen on the throne without a man at her side. Similar to the situation of Queen Mary and Phillip II of Spain, Queen Mary remarried to Phillip II of Spain so she would not have to deal with the burden of the throne by herself, however, the Queen’s choice of her new husband turned disastrous for England. Just as Gertrude’s choice in her new husband turned disastrous for Denmark. Gertrude was portrayed as an obedient passive woman who was seduced by Claudius. She married Claudius not long after her husband’s death, King Hamlet, and obeyed every ord... ... middle of paper ... ...her orders which she obeyed as it was her duty. “I loved you not."(3.1.119) and “"Get thee to a nunnery."(3.1.121), Hamlet’s harsh and cold attitude towards Ophelia left her weeping and disturbed. His rejection and rudeness can also be contributed to Ophelia’s insanity. The final contribution to Ophelia’s insanity was her father’s death, she could not bear the loss and as a result, she finally lost her state of mind. Madness, without a doubt, played a big role in the lives of people in both England and Europe. One of the reasons for this is that majority of the people in England and Europe didn’t have much to live for; they simply worked and tried to survive. They would often lose their loved ones and the poor could have easily starved if there was a series of bad harvest. All in all, it was a maddening era to live in and Shakespeare Hamlet is an example of maddens.
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