Women in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 3 (889 words) Published: May 21, 2013
“Frailty thy name is woman”
Women in society’s eyes are seen and looked down upon as weak, insignificant and a lower species than that of men. Similarly in the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, Hamlet’s view of women is decidedly dark. There are only two female characters in the play of Hamlet; Gertrude and Ophelia. In the play, the roles of women are minor yet essential to the plot and flow of the play. Ophelia and Gertrude are both unappreciated women that are considered frail and weak-minded by the men in their lives. Throughout “Hamlet” it is utmost apparent that women are completely dependent on men and they constantly need help and support from the men in their lives. Although both Gertrude and Ophelia are seen as insignificant figures, they are crucial to the plot and enhance the play.

Gertrude is the first female character presents the reader that women are wholly dependent on men. This is obvious when she remarries her brother-in-law Claudius just 2 months after old King Hamlet’s death. Women are portrayed as beings that are unable to live without a man and constantly need one in their lives. “That it should come to this! 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!—” (1.2 Line 6) Gertrude’s quick marriage may seem immoral to people but it is the only way for her to maintain her status as queen. However Gertrude’s role as a queen is overshadowed by King Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet, but her shallow and weak character flaws lose Hamlet’s respect. Hamlet is devastated by his father’s death and even more so by his mother’s quick remarriage. “So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a...
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