When writing a play, Shakespeare always aimed at strategically displaying misfortunes with romance and bold actions. The females in Hamlet, Ophelia and Gertrude, both play roles with little importance, which demonstrates the lack of independence present; causing these characters to solely rely of the main characters of the play— the men. Although Shakespeare often wrote tragedies, it is no secret that he kept a place in his heart for romance. The female roles in the play are emphasized as weak woman if they lack a companion, and therefore are helpless. Hamlet and Claudius, the main male characters of the play, appear to be making all the decisions and bold moves in the play creating Ophelia and Gertrude as their shadows. In Hamlet, Shakespeare presents characters Gertrude and Ophelia as dependent, fragile and passive to the male characters they interact with, and often are dominated.
Both Gertrude and Ophelia will always be dependent on the male character they have been assigned with; Ophelia to Hamlet, Gertrude to Old Hamlet than Claudius; proving the lack of independence. Shakespeare has chosen them as such in order to represent the role of the typical Elizabethan woman using both these characters. Firstly, in act one; Ophelia’s actions are dependent on how she father, Polonius, would like her to act with Prince Hamlet. Polonius demands Ophelia to stay away from her lover, Hamlet, and she says, “I shall obey, my lord,” (I. iii 136). Ophelia, still being a daughter, child and considered to be property, is always told what to do whether it is by her father, Polonius, or her brother, Laertes. In act one, scene iii, Laertes warns Ophelia about Hamlet in regards to their relationship telling her t...
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...my lord,” (I. iii 136).
Shakespeare has chosen to present Ophelia as the typical Elizabethan woman in order to illustrate a picture to us of how females were treated and what their importance was in the early days.
Because women were expected to stay in their homes and raise kids, men also assumed that females did not know how to act and were incapable of decision-making, just like Ophelia and Gertrude in Hamlet. Being a hope-less romantic, Shakespeare preferred to always a dash of spark into each play he wrote, but in doing this, he represented women as helpless and reliant on men. It does not help that Ophelia and Gertrude are very passive and go along with whatever they are told, rather than being assertive and proving their importance. Hamlet demonstrates what the importance of an Elizabethan woman was by using fragility, dependence and lack of power.
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