Thursday, May 16, 2013
Frailty, Thy Name Is Woman
According to Dictionary.com, misogyny is the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. In Hamlet’s eyes, Gertrude is a whore who married his uncle simply so she could stay in power and not lose any of her riches. He sees Ophelia as a simple-minded girl who does what she says and never questions the motives behind it. Hamlet is clearly a very misogynistic character.
In Act 1, Scene 2, Hamlet has his first soliloquy in which he discusses the incestuous and unforgivable ways of his mother: But two months dead!—nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month,—
Let me not think on’t,—Frailty, thy name is woman!— A little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body
Like Niobe, all tears;—why she, even she,—
O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn’d longer,—married with mine uncle, My father’s brother; but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month;
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married:— O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good;
But break my heart,—for I must hold my tongue (1.2.138-59) It is made clear that he not only disrespects, but hates his mother for marrying his uncle so soon after his fathers death. He also states that all women are frail and can not be alone for more than a month, which is a wildly misogynistic statement.
In Act 3, Scene 1...
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