Misogyny in Hamlet
In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the title character has many different states of mind and personality changes. However, he consistently shows throughout the play misogynistic behavior. Because Hamlet feels so betrayed by the actions of his mother, he begins to associate this betrayal with the actions of all women, which causes him to treat Ophelia cruelly and unfairly. Hamlet’s misogyny is shown in how he speaks about his mother, how he addresses Ophelia, and in how he refers to women in general. Hamlet shows many times in the play that he has a high disrespect for women, and uses his low opinion towards the female gender as a stereotype for all women. This could easily be interpreted as misogyny. Throughout the play, the leading character of Hamlet behaves in a misogynistic manner towards the women in his life. However, many things he says also involve misogynistic content. Hamlet appears to have a slight obsession with women being promiscuous to the point that he includes it in his analogies. “Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with word.” Hamlet seemed to feel the need to mention ‘whores’ there. In discussion with Ophelia, Hamlet mentions how he believes that women are two-faced. “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.” Hamlet is referring to the actions of all women, not just Ophelia or his mother. Hamlet also believes that all women are out only to deceive men like himself. “It is but foolery but it is such a kind of gain-giving as would perhaps trouble a woman.” He refers to ‘gain-giving’ as meaning a feeling of anxiety or misgiving, which he is associating with women. After the death of his father, and his mother’s immediate remarriage to his uncle, Hamlet begins to show feelings of hatred towards his mother. Many of the things he says about her, or in reference to her could easily be seen as misogynistic. He refers to her actions as if they are typical of all women. Hamlet is impatient with the...
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