Hamlet and Femininity

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When reading the play Hamlet, it sometimes seems that everything occurs because of a woman.  However, there is a problem with that assumption: the women are a little too passive to cause anything.  Certainly, the men’s feelings towards the women shape the events of the play, but that’s not exactly because of the women.  Instead, it’s the basic relationships between the men and women, the relationships of husband and wife, of brother and sister, father and daughter, and especially mother and son, that are pivotal to the tragedies that occur.              The first relationship that affects the play is that of Gertrude and Hamlet’s father.  The strengths and weaknesses in this relationship are the first cause of drama in this story.  There is subtle evidence that Gertrude and the king did care greatly for each other – or at least he cared for her.  Even his ghost tells Hamlet “Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive against thy mother aught” (233). However, the weakness in the relationship may be the downfall of everyone.  Her quick marriage seems to cause more anger in Hamlet and his father than the actual murder.             Actually, Gertrude’s “o’erhasty marriage” (242) seems to be the catalyst for every thing.  It enrages the ghost of the king, and influences Hamlet’s apparent low opinion of women, his mother in particular.  It is never stated or implied in the play, but it stands to reason that there was some sort of intrigue between Gertrude and Claudius before the murder, and even that she may have been the thing that pushed Claudius to murder his brother.  After the marriage, she and Claudius seemed to be very united and happy together. Whether or not she knew about the murder is debatable, but in my opinion doubtful.  Deep in her mind, she may have had suspicions, but it seems she would have been more afraid for her son if she had really known for sure.  Her reaction, upon learning the truth, is to say “Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul, and...
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