Feminism on Hamlet

894 Words4 Pages
What is feminism? I believe that feminism is about both women and men. It confirms women’s full humanity but, it is not a putdown of men’s humanity. Rather it is a critique of patriarchy as a system that distorts the humanity and humility of both women and men. A patriarchy is defined as a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Such systems currently exist in several forms and areas around the world; however, the most common place for these patriarchies is in our literature. Men are distorted by patriarchy both in being socially labeled as aggressive but, also shamed as they look into the mirror and see themselves. Shakespeare uses polarizing examples of feminism in Hamlet. He depicts women as completely sexual creatures and also devalues women in the eyes of men. The way we have viewed women from the 1600’s to now has changed dramatically. In the 1600’s, the approximate time period Shakespeare had written Hamlet, women where viewed as helpless, dependent and had no place in society. Women today are looked upon with respect and dignity because they have earned self respect, value and a place in society as hard working, knowledgeable and yet compassionate. I believe Gertrude from Hamlet, is a depthless individual who only thinks about her body and external pleasures. Like a child, she longs to be charmed and delighted by the men in her life. Gertrude is also a very sexual woman, and her sexuality may have been the reason that Hamlet turned so violently against her. Hamlet was already outraged with his mother for her marrying his uncle just a short time after his father's death. “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, with witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts, -- O wicked wit, and gifts that have the power so to seduce!--won to his shameful lust the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.”
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