The Role of Women in Hamlet
Misogyny is an important theme in every Shakespeare’s play. In Hamlet, this theme is depicted through personality traits of both Queen Gertrude and Ophelia, who are the only two women in the play. Although, Queen Gertrude and Ophelia are different in age, both show some similar traits. Both the Queen and Ophelia are weak, insecure and dependent. However, compare to Ophelia who is indecisive and lack of confidence, Queen Gertrude seems more decisive in thoughts and actions. By showing the similar and different personal traits of each female character, Shakespeare successfully conveys the idea of misogyny in Hamlet. Insecurity is portrayed by the dependency on men in the decisions and actions of both Queen Gertrude and Ophelia. Several weeks after the death of King Hamlet, Queen Gertrude decides to marry her brother-in-law, Claudius. This decision reveals two points: one is Gertrude is unfaithful to King Hamlet and the other is her insecurity. If she loves Claudius, it is unwise to hold a wedding right after the funeral of her husband. Even though it is incestuous to marry her brother-in-law, Gertrude still decides to marry him. As a queen, she knows what to do is acceptable. It must be something beyond love itself. After King Hamlet died, it is reasonable for Hamlet to become Danish king. However, Claudius becomes king after all. As a powerless queen, who lost her husband, Gertrude faces obstacles and feels insecure. She worries about Hamlet’s succession to the throne of Denmark. She knows that she has to marry Claudius to gain power, so he can protect her and her son. Similar to Gertrude, Ophelia’s insecurity is found from her conversation with her father. When Ophelia tells Polonius about the fact that Hamlet loves her, Polonius tells her do not trust the sweet talk from Hamlet. Ophelia says, “I do not know, my lord, what I should think.” (1.3.113) Her answer reveals her dependency toward making decision. She cannot...
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