The Patriarchal Society in Hamlet Essay

The Patriarchal Society in Hamlet Essay

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Most of the worlds cultures follow a patriarchal society and this dates back to the beginning of time. In Hamlet the patriarchal society is clearly depicted by the characters throughout the play. Hamlet is portrayed as an indecisive character when it comes to making a serious decision, for example when he contemplates on killing Claudius. This shows the masculinity and femininity aspect of his character, which offends the ideals in a patriarchal society. Claudius, Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia and Gertrude follow the usual gender roles in a patriarchal society, as for Hamlet, his characteristics come from both gender roles.
Just like in society the men in Hamlet follow the rules for a patriarchal society. The three most masculine characters in Hamlet are Claudius, Polonius and Laertes. “Man is supposed to be strong, courageous, rational and sexually aggressive; while woman is weak, timid, emotional, and sexually passive” (De-Yan 1). The first identifiable masculine characters are Laertes and Polonius as they are introduced in the play conversing with Ophelia. In this scene they tell Ophelia what she is allowed to do and command to her to not be with Hamlet, “For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor, Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, A violet in the youth of primy nature, Forward not permanent sweet, not lasting...” (1.3.5-9). After Laertes leaves, Polonius enters the scene and rebukes Ophelia for believing Hamlets words of affection. As in a patriarchal society the males of the household are the leaders. First in command is the father, and then the brother. Therefore just like in Act one scene three, Ophelia has to do what her father and brother tell her. Claudius is another masculine character in Hamlet. He shows this by murder...


... middle of paper ...


...ness and courage, there would have been no play.


Works Cited

De-Yan, Guo. "Hamlet's Femininity." Canadian Social Science 5.5 (2009): 89-95. Academic Search Premier. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

Watson, Elizabeth S. "Old King, New King, Eclipsed Sons, And Abandoned Altars In Hamlet." Sixteenth Century Journal 35.2 (2004): 475-491. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson). Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

Leverenz, D. 1978. The Woman in Hamlet: An Interpersonal View. Signs, 4 (2), pp. 291--308.

Thompson, E. 1978. Eighteenth-century English society: class struggle without class?. Social History, 3 (2), pp. 133--165.

Neely, C. 1981. Feminist modes of shakespearean criticism: Compensatory, justificatory, transformational. Women's Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9 (1), pp. 3--15.

Shakespeare, W. 2013. Hamlet. The Necessary Shakespeare. 4th ed. David Bevington. Chicago: Pearson.

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