Examples Of Objectification Of Women In Hamlet

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Objectification is defined as, “a notion central to feminist theory…the seeing and/or treating a person, usually a woman, as an object.”¹ There are several ways to look at the idea of the objectification of women in literature. Shakespeare’s, Hamlet can be a prime example of the objectification of women when viewed through a feminist lens, due to the use of violability, instrumentality, and silencing by the misogynistic patriarchy, towards the women of the noble family.
The patriarchy in Hamlet are constantly thinking about themselves, and what they can do to get ahead; Claudius killing his own brother to become king, Hamlet murdering his lovers father to prove a point, etc. Most of the time, the women’s feelings are thrown aside when the men are trying to get ahead. Instrumentality can be defined as, “the treatment of a person as a tool for the objectifier's purposes.” The play shows several examples of instrumentality towards women. Laertes, the brother of Ophelia says,
“[…] Then, if he says he loves
…show more content…
Laertes does not believe that Hamlet actually loves her the way that he says he does. However, there is an underlying purpose for him saying this; He is more worried about who his sister gives her virginity to, because he wants to make sure that it is with someone of a good family, who can offer her the most. This will, in turn, become his family and we will get the perks as well. This is instrumentality because Laertes is using Ophelia as a tool in his overall plot. In another case of the same kind of objectification towards women, Polonius uses his own daughter for his own needs;
“Come, go with me: I will go seek the king. This is the very ecstasy of love, Whose violent property fordoes itself And leads the will to desperate undertakings As oft as any passion under heaven That does afflict our natures.”

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