Misogyny in Hamlet
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet plays the role of an impulsive, confused teenager. Hamlet seems to have a lot of issues with the significant women in his life. Although, to be fair, Hamlet has issues with just about everyone in his life, men or women alike. There are only two female roles in the play; therefore, interpreting whether Hamlet is a misogynist or not can be somewhat difficult. Throughout the play, his actions toward women gradually change. He may seem to be misogynistic, but his hateful attitude towards women in the play (Ophelia and Gertrude) is understandable.
To begin, the primary female role is Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, to whom Hamlet was usually very close to. Especially after the death of Hamlet's father, he had none other to look up to as a role model but his own mother. He indeed truly loved his mother. However, he began to develop anger towards Gertrude after her hasty remarriage to his uncle, Claudius and perhaps even the possible incest that may appear between them. Hamlet expected “a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourn'd longer” (I.ii.150). Unfortunately, reality failed to meet his expectations which turned Hamlet to be angry at his mother. As the play goes on, he loses more respect to women. It is shown through his derogatory comments and actions towards his mother. He refers her as “stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty,” (III.iv.95) and physically assaults her in her bedroom. Branding Hamlet truly as a misogynist would be a false statement as he truly does not hate his mother. For example, when she drinks the poisoned drink, he takes her avenge. He is mainly disappointed and angry at the way his mother has been acting which is why he speaks of his mother as “frailty thou thy name of women” (I.ii.146). Clearly, Gertrude's weakness has become a disturbance in Hamlet's life and frustrated him, which in turn appeared him as a “women hater.” In addition, Hamlet's only...
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