Essay On Hamlet And Women

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William Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, offers detailed and often callous insights into the role of women, and men, in the Renaissance period in which the playwright lived in. Throughout this time, traditional women were often constantly criticised and treated as inferior to male counterparts. As such, Shakespeare has constructed his female characters to fulfil these traditional roles; however by taking a feminist approach these female characters appear marginalised and degraded. Ultimately, through the playwright’s representation of women, they can be see as worthless, sexual objects , both weak and inconsiderate in nature. Through a modern perception on the playwright’s female characters, women can be seen as worthless, sexually corrupt indiviudals. Ophelia, often through the words of the men around her, can be partiicuarly perceived in this way. This is evident, with her father, Polonius when he says to Claudius, “At such a time, I loose my daughter to him; Be you and I behind an arras then; Mark the encounter…” (2.2.176-178) Polonius’ language here suggests that Ophelia is more of an animal than his daughter, and he as her father shows her little respect. This reading of Ophelia is also apparent through Hamlet’s language, describing her in unpleasant context or as a “dead dog”(2.2.81). He treats her with little regard and believes that she is a “breeder of maggot” This is also evident when Hamlet says to her, “ I say we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery go” (3.1.150) Here Hamlet almost commands Ophelia to go to a nunnery, suggesting that she, as a sexually corrupt female, needs improvement. Therefore, Shakespeare’s use of language, illustrated by words adopted by male characters, not only identitifies how women are marginalised, but their ill-sentiments towards

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