“Frailty, Thy Name Is Woman”
Frailty is something that seems to have lead many women to their downfall during The Elizabethan Age. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the two main female characters, (Gertrude and Ophelia), are victims of the tragic quote, “frailty, thy name is woman”. Both women show no real evidence of having a back bone throughout the entire story. They are manipulated and tricked into believe something that is not meant to be believed. As women, they have no choice but to listen to the men, whether they feed them lies or not; they believe it. Both Ophelia and Gertrude undergo severe and devastating occurrences, which are completely out of their own control.
After the death of King Hamlet, Gertrude can hardly bare the loss of her deceased husband. So who does she turn to for support, the brother or her ex-husband. The new King, Claudius, states, “(t)herefore our sometime sister, now our queen.” (1.2.8). Gertrude quickly longs for attention, and marries as soon as possible. Showing that it seems she cannot survive and prosper on her own without guidance.
Ophelia is devastated that her brother Leartes left her during her time of need. At that moment Ophelia begins to show signs of remorse and her father Polonius immediately puts her in her place. He punishes her on the terms that she must do as he says which is to talk to Hamlet for his own benefit, and her response is, “I shall obey my lord” (1.3.141). This just goes to show how much emotion she lacks and what little say she has when decisions are made.
After Gertrude witness’s firsthand the death of Polonius under the blade of her own son, she is in shock and confused. She is truly convinced that her son has gone mad and he is in need of desperate help. She turns to Claudius for advice and he recommends, “we will ship him hence”, (4.1.31). Gertrude is lead to believe that Claudius is a nice a trustworthy man, who only wants the best for her son. However, what she is oblivious to is...
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