Women in Hamlet

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Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most famous plays. In this essay I will look at Hamlets perception of women in general but particularly Gertrude and Ophelia. I will also look at the historical presentation of women, comparing Hamlets time to today and seeing if the symbolic role that the females characters have is related to the period. Also I will look at Hamlets madness, whether it was real or not and also whether women could be the cause of it. Finally I will look at a possible ?Oedipus complex? in Hamlet. ?Hamlet? as the title suggests is based around the character Hamlet Prince of Denmark. This is why women are often presented the way that Hamlet sees them. Also Hamlet lives in a very enclosed world with only a small circle of friends and family. Only 2 women, Gertrude and Ophelia, enter into his world, so he used their characters as a complete character assessment of all women. Hamlet directs the insult ?frailty thy name is women? at Gertrude, and in some ways this remark is justified. Hamlet is disillusioned with her because of her ?o?erhasty marriage? to Claudius. He thinks it is incestuous and at times seems angrier about it then his father?s murder, ?in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed.? This is why often people say that Hamlet has an Oedipus complex. This is an idea developed by Freud who says all sons want to sleep with their mothers and kill their fathers. There are many arguments that go against this though. Hamlet is very outspoken about Gertrude?s ?incestuous behaviour? so isn?t likely to want it himself. Hamlet seams repulsed by sex. Also Hamlet seems to view his father as a type of god and so isn?t very likely to want to kill him. In fact the exact opposite, as he is trying to revenge the murder of his father. Gertrude is also suspected by Hamlet of being involved in the murder of Old Hamlet although we are led to believe that she is not. This is because the ghost of Old Hamlet tells Hamlet to say nothing against her as though she is an innocent...
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