Theme Of Women In Hamlet

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The Women in Hamlet William Shakespeare’s Hamlet takes place in Elsinore, a city in Denmark, during the middle ages, a time populated and controlled by men. In the beginning of the play, two women, Gertrude and Ophelia, appear to be weak, insignificant characters in the play but as time passes their roles and involvement with the main plots is amplified. In the beginning of the play Gertrude has a lot to gain from the actions of others, Ophelia mirrors Hamlet in his decline into insanity due to their struggle with internal conflicts. Throughout the play the frailty of women is a common topic. Even Hamlet himself said, “Frailty, thy name is woman” (Act 1, Scene 2).Thought as the play goes on the audience finds that the women are stronger and of more importance than they appear to be.

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Gertrude is an outspoken assertive character while Ophelia is a delicate and innocent young lady. Gertrude is a strong, cunning character who demands a great deal of respect. She does not have many lines in the play but other characters often speak on her behalf. When Hamlet speaks to the ghost of his father, the ghost refers to Hamlet’s mother saying, “And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge to prick and sting her” (Act 1, Scene 5). Implying that Gertrude feels some amount of guilt for her adultery and for marrying her late husband’s brother. It is never made clear how King Hamlet died but it is possible that Gertrude, along with Claudius, played a part in the King’s death. In Hamlet’s eyes Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius is absolute betrayal even though Gertrude’s love for her son is what sets her apart in the play. When Gertrude questions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about her son, it is interpreted as her searching for information to report to the king but Gertrude’s loving nature says otherwise. Gertrude simply showed genuine concern for her
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