The role women played in Hamlet was complicated. Their distinct purpose as characters in the tragedy was to illustrate Hamlet’s warped view of women and give the audience an obvious understanding of Hamlets madness and distress. Hamlets strong unwavering judgment of women was caused by his mother. He had been delusional about women by Gertrude’s actions. He is consumed by the absurdity of his mother’s love for his uncle and is justified to feel disgust towards his mother, her actions and implications and in doing so provoked hamlet’s unforgivable treatment of all women as a whole. Although Hamlet gives off the illusion that Shakespeare is enormously disgusted by the female race Hamlet’s outlook doesn’t really reflect Shakespeare’s attitude of women.
In Gertrude’s choice to marry so soon after her husband’s death she transgresses the patriarchal bound of femininity. She refuses to remain in passive grief and obedient devotion to his memory. Gertrude’s sin was her inaction. She was willing to accept Claudius and didn’t think twice of rejecting him. In Hamlet’s eyes his father was the very d...
... middle of paper ...
...er of. Only in her insanity does she live up to Hamlets false perceptions of her as a provocative woman as she sings of lost virtue and sinful matters.
When Ophelia commits suicide Shakespeare proves he doesn’t only view women as passive and accepting. In Ophelia’s self intended death she refuses to live miserably in a life that denies her. In her death she lashes out at the world accusing it of being so in tolerable that even death was preferable to living. In Ophelia’s character Shakespeare places vulnerability on one hand yet a kind of nobility in the other demonstrating his opinion of women is not of single mind and temperament but each character has her own vices and virtues, her own ideas and beliefs. Shakespeare portrays women as both, passive and active, disgraceful and noble, apathetic and loving; they are themselves.
Hamlet by Shakespeare
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- “Almost without exception, people feel constrained to play roles in accordance with what they believe to be the expectations of others” (Asp). During odd or unnatural events, these stereotypical expectations can be overshadowed and conquered by the intense desire for power or wealth. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Shakespeare alters the physical attributes associated with specific genders in order to illustrate the progression of a character’s actions and thoughts. Throughout history, stereotypical profiles of what a man or woman should be have determined how they are perceived by others.... [tags: william shakespeare, macbeth, duncan]
1497 words (4.3 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)
- William Shakespeare's characterization of women varies immensely from one comedy to another. In his works, Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and Much Ado About Nothing, he portrays both dominant and submissive women. Ultimately, Shakespeare examines the complexity of women by displaying the vast array of attitudes, emotions, and their treatment and reaction to men as well as refuting the typical subservient wife role. In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, the difficulties of marriage and submission take center stage.... [tags: Female Women Shakespeare Essays]
3553 words (10.2 pages)
- The play Othello is presented as a male-dominated society where women are only recognized as property; objects to own and to bear children. Women in the Elizabethan society and in Shakespeare society were not seen as equal to men and were expected to be loyal to their husbands, be respectful, and to not go against their husbands judgements or actions. Shakespeare presents Desdemona, Emilia , and Bianca as women in the Elizabethan time where they were judged based on their class, mortality, and intelligence.... [tags: Relationships, Ellizabethan, Society]
1426 words (4.1 pages)
- The concept and perception of gender has changed radically from Shakespeare’s time to now, yet the perceptions of women and the limitations placed on them remain shockingly similar. William Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, Macbeth, addresses gender concerns and the role of women in power positions. The play was written for King James VI of Scotland and I of England as he took the throne during a transitional period in the country’s history. The succession of King James marked the long-desired transition from a matriarchy to a patriarchy.... [tags: Gender, Gender role, Gender identity]
1108 words (3.2 pages)
- Beatrice’s comical nature and extrovert personality allows Shakespeare to illustrate a persona to which the Elizabethan audience would not have been able to relate. Hamada states that ‘…imposed on women three virtues-obedience, silence, and chastity’. Beatrice is a character who rebels from these expectations. Contemporary audiences would have been shocked and humoured by the fact that Shakespeare allows a female character to be so vocal in the play. However, a twenty first century audience would find her to be relatable as many modern females have similar personality traits to Beatrice.... [tags: gender equality, women, Elizabethan era]
1083 words (3.1 pages)
- The Role of Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies In Shakespeare’s tragedies and his plays in general, we can come across several types of female characters. Their influence with other characters and their purpose or role, often underestimated like women themselves, will be this essay’s main subject. Women in Shakespearean plays have always had important roles, sometimes even the leading role. Whether they create the main conflicts and base of the plays, or bring up interesting moral and cultural questions, they have always been put in challenging situations.... [tags: Tragedy Plays Shakespeare Women Essays]
1710 words (4.9 pages)
- Matthew Foung English 3IB, 5 10.27.14 IB English 3 Individual Oral Presentation Othello: Role of Women Statement of intent: The role of women in William Shakespeare’s play Othello is portrayed through the behaviors and actions of Desdemona, Emilia, and Bianca. William Shakespeare integrates his Elizabethan society to create the patriarchal Venetian society in the play. Women in his society were seen as inferior to the men. The three women play a significant role in different social stratification.... [tags: Iago, Othello, Woman, William Shakespeare]
1877 words (5.4 pages)
- Within literature, women are often seen as an angel or a demon regardless of what they do. For example, a woman could have the purest intentions and still suffer the fate that a manipulative woman suffers. It is well known that evil characters never truly get away with their evil deeds, but what about those who have done nothing at all. Why is it that they also suffer untimely deaths or substantial losses. The reasoning behind it could possibly be due to how even the most innocent of characters do not abide by the gender rules that are constantly in place.... [tags: William Shakespeare, King Lear, Love]
2216 words (6.3 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Portrayal of Macbeth Macbeth was written by Shakespeare between 1606-1611. The story takes place in Scotland, where a brave soldier ‘Macbeth’ is predicted to become king. After being urged on by his wife, Macbeth kills the king and claims his right to the throne. After a few days’ people begin to become suspicious and eventually Macbeth has is comeuppance. Shakespeare wrote in a time where women were inferior to men, people lived in a patriarchal society.... [tags: Papers]
1794 words (5.1 pages)