Can Women in Hamlet Been Seen as Victim's in a Man's World?

Topics: Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 4 (1544 words) Published: March 13, 2007
To what extent are women in "Hamlet" victims in a man's world?

Although Shakespeare's primary concern in his plays is not to portray women as victim's, to an outsider looking in this is what it may seem like as there are only two women in the play (Ophelia; Polonius' daughter, and Gertrude; Queen and Hamlet's mother) and both end up dying. Some people say that Shakespeare presents women throughout "Hamlet" as easy to convince and submissive to men and their demands. This is not too strange for a play of Shakespeare's time however as in the past, women were regularly portrayed as socially and mentally weaker than men. A prime example of the weakness shown in the women is in act three, scene four in which Hamlet confronts his mother for the first time about her "incestuous" marriage to his father's brother. From the very start of the scene, Hamlet ultimately has control over the conversation which already shows weakness on Gertrude's side. Gertrude is the Queen and you would expect her to have power over Hamlet especially also as it was initially Gertrude who was the one that wanted to talk to Hamlet. It starts with Hamlets mother rebuking Hamlet but he simply dismisses everything she says and when she tells him she "will send for someone he will listen to", he physically grabs Gertrude and sits her down. This shows that already Hamlet is more dominant than the female character in the scene. Hamlet feels betrayed by his mother's actions to re-marry so soon after his father's death and accuses her of being in an incestuous and wrong relationship with Claudius. Gertrude does not at this point see what she has done wrong as she has obviously had time to think things through and has decided out of her own accord to marry to Claudius. However, Hamlet makes it seem like Gertrude is not allowed to make her own decisions and feels that his views on everything must be the right views. He clarifies this when he says "You go not till I set you up a glass where you may see...
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