The Role Of Women In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1139 Words5 Pages
Caroline Miller
Mrs. Tuck
English 124
30 November 2015
The Role of Women in Hamlet William Shakespeare, playwright and poet, lived in a time when women did not have the opportunities men did. For example, women were not allowed to act in plays, but instead men when play the roles of women. This view of women is carried into Shakespeare’s characters in his plays, seen most significantly in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Women in Shakespeare’s Hamlet are portrayed as weak and below men, which is best seen in Hamlet’s, as well as other male characters, interactions with Queen Gertrude and Ophelia. Queen Gertrude is the first female character introduced to the play. Having just married King Claudius, her brother-in-law, only “within
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Ophelia is portrayed as a naive, young girl and is defined by her obedience to the men in her life. Her brother, Laertes, and father, Polonius, create the typical gender stereotype by informing Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. For example, as Polonius speaks to Ophelia about Hamlet’s “love” he says “Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance. Do you believe his tenders, as you call them?”(I,iii,101-103). In this quote, Polonius tells Ophelia she is being naive and ignorant by believing that Hamlet really loves her. Laertes also talks to his sister…show more content…
Hamlet views both women, as well as all women, as weak and frail. These gender stereotypical views are not only seen in The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. For example, Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream must obey her father who wishes her to marry a man who she does not love. While most women in Shakespeare are portrayed this way, there are few that do break the stereotype. For example, Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream stands up to her husband, refusing to turn over the Indian boy she cares for. Though some break the mold, in the end women in Shakespeare are always portrayed as inferior to men and it is best seen in the work of
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