How Hamlet Presents Its Female Characters

1264 Words6 Pages
How Hamlet Presents Its Female Characters Hamlet is said to be one of the most discussed works of literature in the world. Shakespeare has generally presented strong women in his plays; for example Lady Macbeth, Portia and Rosaline. This may have been influenced by his personal life, as his wife Ann Hathaway, was eight years his senior. However the women in Hamlet have weaknesses, both Gertrude and Ophelia show compassion and neither are ruthless in their attitudes and actions, however ruthlessness is not always a strength in women. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most complicated characters, but ironically he sees no complexity in the people around him especially the female characters of this play. Hamlet’s complexity makes him a very interesting character and this reflects upon the rest of the play, giving it grounds to be one of the most discussed works of literature ever, this also reflects in the way Shakespeare presents the other characters to us. Hamlet sees his mother, Gertrude, from the beginning of the play as no more than an adulteress, but I believe that these views are a result of jealousy of Claudius. In his first soliloquy he remarks more upon his mother’s new marriage than the recent death of his father and I think that it is not his father’s death which has affected him but the remarriage of his mother to his uncle; “Would have mourn’d longer, - married with mine uncle, My fathers brother.” In fact Hamlet spends most of his time during this soliloquy talking of his mother’s remarriage rather than his dead father. In contrast with Hamlet’s view, Gertrude does not think that her remarriage has offended anyone and she thinks that maybe it has affected Hamlet because the marriage was rushed and too soon after his fathers death “His fathers death and our o’erhasty marriage” Perhaps it has not and it is just Hamlet’s attitude to his uncle but mainly to his suspected Oedipus complex as thought by critic Ernest Jones, when Hamlet and his mother are talking alone he says "O, throw away the worser part of it, and live the purer
Open Document