‘Othello’ highlights the gender roles that are placed on men and women during Shakespeare’s time. Symbolising Desdemona as an obedient wife to Othello, Shakespeare illustrates the lack of freedom women had, oppressed by the culture that is practiced that restricts women making them feel remorseful for defending themselves from dominant male figures. The dishonour Desdemona perceives from Othello’s misdirected rage, evokes her to feel not worthy of the role as his wife. As outspoken women were looked down upon during the Elizabethan era, Desdemona felt that she would further anger Othello if she were to be disrespectful. Desdemona represents the vulnerability women felt when standing for their rights in the late 1600’s, being overpowered by the community’s destructive attitudes and behaviours against them.
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”. This view was not uncommon in Shakespeare’s time and heavily influenced Shakespeare to present women the way he does in Hamlet.
She is also taking a position of authority by doing things for herself. Lady Macbeth criticizes her husband, saying, “Wouldst thou have that/ Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life/ And live a coward in thine own esteem?” (I.vii.41-43). She calls him a coward, easily insulting him without repercussions and with the knowledge that he won’t do anything because of it. After Macbeth kills Duncan and is in shock of the crime he has just committed, Lady Macbeth says, “Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead/ Are but as pictures.
The Queen deserved to die. Perhaps the most truthful and noble line throughout the play was Hamlet’s description of his mother as “Frailty, thy name is woman”. While some argue that Gertrude is strong-minded and intelligent, it is obvious through her actions that she is in truth a shallow, flighty and sensual woman. Throughout the play she does not care or think about anybody but herself and is stupid enough to fail to see what is in front of her eyes all along. The frailty that Hamlet speaks of is the weakness his mother’s persona and morals.
"Let me not think on 't; frailty, thy name is woman!" (I.ii.146). During his monologue, he is upset that his mother, Gertrude, was quick to remarry right after the death of his father - not to mention she remarried his uncle, Claudius, out of all people. This act of incest sickens him and he is disgusted at her actions when she and his late father were inseparable and now she is married to a man that is not even as great a leader and fighter as his father was. In regards to Ophelia, Hamlet is angry at how submissive she is when her father Polonius and brother Laertes order her to stay away from him despite the fact that they are ... ... middle of paper ... ... on sort of a male role in Act 1 where she calls him out on his manhood or lack thereof because he does not want to kill a virtuous and humble man with whom he has no problems.
This is because Hamlet and the ghost of Hamlet are both very biased as they feel a sense of injustice at Gertrude's marriage to Claudius, her brother-in-law. For example, Gertrude is chiefly seen as very uncaring and "unrighteous," as the "incestuous" marriage, according to Hamlet, was carried out with "dexterity" and scarcely a month after King Hamlet's death. This depiction makes the audience form a very strong opinion of Gertrude from the outset. It creates an ominous feeling about Gertrude as the first insight we get into her character is given by people who have been hurt by her in some way. This suggests that she is someone to watch out for and that Gertrude is weak and unable to live without a man who can provide self-protection.
This allowed her to only accept her father’s views that Hamlet’s attention towards her was only to take advantage of her and to obey her father’s orders not to permit Hamlet to see her again. Hamlet has the disillusion that women are frail after his mother’s rushed remarriage as shown by “Frailty, thy name is woman!” He also believes women do not have the power to reason. (“O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason.”) Ophelia has the power to change his view but her unexplained rejection of him only adds to Hamlet’s disillusion. The ghost’s revelation that Gertrude dishonored Hamlet’s father but also their marriage by the adultery with Claudius is contemplated by Hamlet until he goes into Ophelia’s room to look upon her. As Hamlet searches Ophelia’s face for some sign that might restore his faith in her, he instead believes her face shows guilt and thinks she is another false Gertrude.
Firstly, Gertrude followed a wicked man willingly. It was revealed that she did in fact knew of Claudius’s sinister ways when Hamlet confronted Gertrude in her bedroom chambers, and Hamlet chastised his mother for all her wrong doing and the murderer she proclaims to love. Gertrude could not handle his scorn and asked Hamlet to stop, because the guilt was too much to bare. She did not react to Hamlet calling Claudius a murderer or denied it, but Gertrude did run to Claudius after the confrontation with Hamlet. It can be heavily assumed that she knew of his wicked ways, but only seen him as her loving husband.
“Frailty, thy name is woman” (I.ii.150). The most significant reason for Hamlet’s first soliloquy is based on how he feels about “woman”, mostly referring to his mother. Hamlet shows no respect towards his mother. Shakespeare tries to show Hamlet and other male characters as assertive men. However, in Shakespeare different plays women play a variety of roles.
After Hamlet’s speech about suicide and death, Hamlet describes the causes of his pain, specifically his disgust at his mother’s marriage to Claudius. Hamlet is upset with his mother’s choice in remarriage more so than the actual death of his father. As Hamlet contemplates his mother’s marriage, he cries out “frailty, thy name is woman!” (Shakespeare, I. ii. 150) Because of his mother’s actions, Hamlet sees all women as weak, frail, and untrustworthy. Hamlet goes on to explain the unreasonable timing of his mother’s marriage, stating how an animal would have mourned the loss of its mate longer than Hamlet’s mother did.