In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare, the author, creates female characters that occupy very different roles than in his other plays. In this play, Hamlet plays opposite two women who are used by the men around them in order to further their own interests. One woman is named Ophelia. In many of Shakespeare’s other plays, he creates women that are very strong and play a very real role in the life of the protagonist. In Hamlet, however, Ophelia occupies a very different role-she exemplifies a pawn of the men around her. She is used not only by her father and his associate the King, but also by her supposed lover, Hamlet. This is a very different role for a woman in a Shakespearian play. Also, Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, also plays a very frivolous role in the novel. Hamlet continually criticizes her incestuous liaison with his uncle, her brother-in-law, and uses her connections with his uncle in order to further his plan to have revenge on his uncle. In other Shakespearian plays, the male characters usually have respect for the women that they are associated with; in Hamlet, however, Shakespeare chooses to instead portray women more realistically. At the time when this play was written, it was very common for women to be used merely as pawns for either their fathers, brothers, husbands, or lovers. This shows Shakespeare’s deviation in this play from his characteristic style of writing-it questions that very style in which his other plays were written.
Ophelia, as the protagonist’s love interest, generally would occupy a role in which the main character would be openly smitten with her. In Hamlet, rather the opposite is true. Ophelia’s character is very obviously in love with Hamlet, however, her father and b...
... middle of paper ...
...in that the most important men in her life expect differing things of her. Therefore, she also finds herself caught in the middle of a male feud.
Ophelia and Gertrude’s positions are typical of the positions that women were placed in at the time Shakespeare wrote the play. Many of Shakespeare’s other plays deal with a more idealistic society, one in which women have more control over their lives and aren’t controlled by the men which play roles in their lives. Hamlet is a play in which Shakespeare somewhat criticizes his own style of writing. In this play, he attempts to depict the emotional aspect of the play in a more realistic way. He especially does this with the roles of the women, by making them more typical female characters of the era. This lends more legitimacy to the story, in that the audience is better able to relate to the characters.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Women’s Roles in Hamlet In the play Hamlet, Shakespeare, the author, creates female characters that occupy very different roles than in his other plays. In this play, Hamlet plays opposite two women who are used by the men around them in order to further their own interests. One woman is named Ophelia. In many of Shakespeare’s other plays, he creates women that are very strong and play a very real role in the life of the protagonist. In Hamlet, however, Ophelia occupies a very different role-she exemplifies a pawn of the men around her.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1045 words (3 pages)
- William Shakespeare incorporates many themes and ideas into his play, Hamlet. Of the multiple important ideas, one potentially overlooked is the role of women. Only two of the characters in the play are female. Their lines are scarce, but hold huge importance in relation to the progression and plot of the play. Ophelia, the implied lover of Prince Hamlet, and Queen Gertrude, his mother, do not appear significant, but their actions and characters allow for other events to unfold. Gertrude and Ophelia are manipulated and belittled.... [tags: integral, female, roles, women]
1159 words (3.3 pages)
- Throughout the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s, the relationship between the protagonist Hamlet and a girl named Ophelia is judged and ridiculed by Ophelia’s father Polonius, who is King Claudius’ counselor. The way that Polonius advises Ophelia and judges Hamlet’s intentions would be analysed in similar and different ways by a father from Shakespearean times compared to a father from modern times. Because Christianity was the prominent religion in the early 1600’s this would lead to a father from that era strongly believing in concepts such as sex after marriage.... [tags: Marriage, Love, Gertrude, Hamlet]
1055 words (3 pages)
- The play “Hamlet” was written by Shakespeare in the late 16th Century, however the setting of the play is in the late middle ages (Hamlet 1). In the play, Shakespeare writes about Hamlet who loves Ophelia but with the situation that he is in, his perspective on everything and everyone changes, especially his thoughts on women. He believes that the only thing women want is, not love, but sexual interaction. There are many things that cause his behavior: his mother 's marriage, Ophelia rejecting him, and his father’s murder.... [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Marriage, Gertrude]
1402 words (4 pages)
- A person cannot truly exist without those people around him, just as a play may not be successful without its supporting characters. Horatio and Ophelia are often disregarded as "supporting actors" within the play. They spend very little time onstage, and when they are their roles seem trivial; however, their true purpose is much greater. The characters of Horatio and Ophelia have two very different functions in the play. Horatio is used as a foil for Hamlet, the person to whom Hamlet can discuss his course of action and act like his true self.... [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare ]
1339 words (3.8 pages)
- Hamlet Role of Women For many years in the past women played a small role socially, economically, and politically. As a result of this many works in literature were reflective of this diminutive role of women. In Elizabethan theatres small boys dressed and played the roles of women. In contrast to this trend, in Shakespeare's Hamlet the women in the play are driving factors for the actions of many other characters. Both Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, and Ophelia, Hamlet's love, affected many of the decisions and actions done by Hamlet.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
612 words (1.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude]
1022 words (2.9 pages)
- In today’s society, William Shakespeare’s tragedy plays fascinate readers by highlighting characters’ flaws that lead them to their downfall. In the play Hamlet, William Shakespeare demonstrates the characters’ flaws make individuals victims of their own. According to Aristotle, “Men were full of self-control and were, therefore, responsible for their own actions. It was the tragic heroes’ own actions, then, that brought about the chaos and tragic events” (“Aristotle’s Poetics”). To display the characters’ flaws, Shakespeare uses three main characters: Hamlet, Ophelia, and Claudius.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]
1231 words (3.5 pages)
- William Shakespeare has represented women in a wide range of characterizations and notions. The female characters play a significant or trivial roles in his plays, but nonetheless their actions affect the main characters throughout the play. In his most famous and memorable play Hamlet the character Gertrude played an impact on Hamlet by her acts of selfishness depicted throughout the play. However, in some cases she did mean well for her son, but her actions only resulted in a rage. Gertrude’s poor judgments of betrayal and selfishness result in the tragic conflicts with her son Hamlet.... [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet]
1257 words (3.6 pages)
- Portrayal of Women in Shakespeare's Hamlet Shakespeare was possibly the first writer to portray women as strong, crafty, and intelligent. However, he has still received criticism from feminists about his representation of women. Some have even accused him of misogyny. There are only two female characters in the play Hamlet - Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and Ophelia, daughter of Polonius. Any debate based upon gender roles must therefore focus upon these two characters. Shakespeare portrays Gertrude as a woman of power and intelligence - she was Queen for a considerable amount of time - we can safely assume at least 30 years - and she is asked advice on matters by King Claudius - "Do you t... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
1229 words (3.5 pages)