To begin, Gertrude is presented in differing manners throughout Hamlet the play versus Hamlet (2000) the film. In Shakespeare’s play, she originally is cast as a woman who has power due to her husband, but sits as a trophy wife. Craving power, safety, and comfort, she depends on men for her position and control. Seeming to have poor judgment, she never expresses self-reflection throughout the play and just seems to be a bit oblivious to everything, ultimately resulting in her death as an unaware victim of a game she ensnared herself
Lehmann, Courtney and Lisa S. Starks. "Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into' Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet." Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 2.1-24 .
Smith, Rebecca. “Gertrude: Scheming Adulteress or Loving Mother?” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from “Hamlet”: A User’s Guide. New York: Limelight Editions, 1996.
The rights of women are often greatly suppressed and seen as less important than the rights of men throughout all aspects of life. Since the beginning of human evolution, females have had to fight for equal treatment and have been discussed in several types of media and writing. It is not uncommon for female characters to be portrayed as being inferior to the male characters, especially throughout a variety of literature. Throughout the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, it is indisputable that the female characters are often subservient to the male characters. Furthermore, the two female characters Gertrude and Ophelia are given limited power in their ability to make their own decisions, they often agree and obey to the thoughts and commands
Fischer, Sandra K. "Hearing Ophelia: Gender and Tragic Discourse in Hamlet." Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme 26.1 (2009): 1-10. 5 Feb. 2014.
In theory women during the Elizabethan Age had no power in their homes. In royal families the women are the breeders, they had the responsibility to keep the royal bloodline flowing by having male children to keep the male dominance. “A woman whose job is to represent the family, is doing the traditionally female job of being wife or mother.” (Billig) Gertrude’s role in the play had fairly little significance, besides that she was a mother and wife. She showed no reasons as to why she was in such a rush to remarry after her husband, King Hamlet’s death. Claudius, being the wicked man that he was, may have been so eager to claim the thrown as King that he married the widow to rule Denmark. This whole ordeal of his uncle sleeping with his mother made Hamlet infuriated and ill to his stomach. Hamlet showed his emotions when he said:
Frailty, Thy Name Is Women “Frailty thy name is women” (I.II.150) are words which are spoken by Prince Hamlet, the prominent character of the tragedy play Hamlet by Shakespeare, in his first soliloquy. These words underline how Hamlet truly feels about Gertrude, the queen, and Ophelia, his “beloved” maiden, and women in general. Although the two women play awfully passive characters and lack their voice for the world to hear, they are significantly important because they show how Hamlet, possibly Shakespeare, are a misogynist, which is one of the themes of the play. Through the fickle, passive, and submissive portrayal of the two woman characters, Shakespeare shows women needs to have an autonomy-sense, otherwise their lives will turn out to “cannot come to good” (I.II.163).
With particular reference to Hamlet, feminist critics might explore the characters of Ophelia and Gertrude and how they challenge—or fail to challenge — the domination of male characters. Feminist critics would also be interested in exploring how the play expresses ideas about femininity that were common in Shakespeare's lifetime and how complicit Shakespeare is in Hamlet's personal misogyny. … Elaine Showalter's essay "Representing Ophelia: Women, Madness, and the Responsibilities of Feminist Criticism" explores the difficulties, even embarrassments, that feminist critics have had in approaching Ophelia. The problem is that Ophelia has tended to be overshadowed by Hamlet, even by feminist critics, who then feel the need to liberate Ophelia from obscurity. However, even liberated Ophelia is problematic for she suggests some potentially troubling connections between femininity, female sexuality, and madness.
Hamlet, by William Shakespeare is a well known play, that not only tells a tragedy about revenge and philosophical thinking, but it indirectly emphasizes societies’ views toward women. Shakespeare does a fantastic job at depicting the expected behavior and roles of women through his female characters; Ophelia and Gertrude. Gertrude and Ophelia are portrayed as weak and dependent, a common belief of society toward many women of the time. Hamlet was written and published during the late middle ages (14th -15th century). A time when women were necessary, simply due to their child bearing abilities. They were to be seen as their husband's property, and if they were unfortunate enough to lose their husbands, they would most likely follow command from the next man-most likely their son. The views of this era are clearly shown through the actions and behavior of women in this play. Shakespeare’s play Hamlet captures the stigma, that still exists today: women are weak and dependent upon their male counterparts.
Hamlet is one of the most controversial characters from all of the Shakespeare’s play. His character is strong and complicated, but his jealousy is what conduces him to hate women. He sees them as weak, frail, and untrustworthy. He treats Ophelia, the women he loves, unfair and with cruelty. Similarly, he blames his mother for marrying her dead husband’s brother, who is now the King of Denmark. Hamlet’s treatment for women stems from his mother’s impulsive marriage to his uncle who he hates and Ophelia choosing her father’s advice over him.