William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is an intricate literary masterpiece, made up of a conglomeration of different techniques that add dimension, color, and texture to the story. There are countless uses of characterization, dark humor, and many other literary components in Hamlet, all of which are used to give the reader a more emotional and thought provoking reading or listening experience, and insight into the twisted storyline. One of the most interesting of Shakespeare’s techniques is the characterization of each gender as a separate entity. He seems to give the main characters traits that will lead them to follow certain trends for their gender. In Hamlet, Shakespeare characterizes the main male characters as men with power who tend to exercise their power over the female characters, Ophelia and Gertrude, who are seemingly helpless, are both emotionally and physically dependent on men who do not truly love them, but merely use them as means to an end. In Hamlet, William Shakespeare depicts Ophelia and Gertrude as implements used by the main male characters to their own personal gains and for emotional exculpation.
Gertrude is the wife of the King. She has wealth, but it is not her own. She has power, but only by means of her husband. Gertrude is completely dependent on Claudius for external reasons. She is not only dependent on him for money and power, but for love, affection, and human interaction. In several cases, Claudius uses Gertrude for a personal gain. It is apparent that his marriage to Gertrude is in itself a greedy action. Claudius killed his brother and married his widow, which allowed him to gain the Danish crown. Claudius not only killed Gertrude’s husband, but he also fooled her and wooed her, so he could misappropriate the throne from it’s rightful owner, Hamlet Jr. Claudius also uses Gertrude as a middleman between himself and Hamlet. He pushes Gertrude into uncomfortable situations where she must confront her son about his actions or his...
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