feminist analysis of hamlet

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Feminism in Hamlet If one wants to clearly understand the feminist implications in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are no better characters to observe than Gertrude and Ophelia, who are portrayed as mere tools, weak minded and senselessly obedient. Instances where Gertrude and Ophelia illustrate these stereotypical traits are peppered throughout the play. Before identifying the sexist parts of Hamlet, one must be familiar with the feminist style of criticism. Feminist criticism typically and most often studies how women are repressed in old writings. Shakespeare appears to portray women realistically according to the Elizabethan era of his time because at the time when this play was written, the ideal woman was subservient and dependent on men. In Hamlet, Ophelia is shown to be a tool for the men around her, senselessly taking orders. Her manipulators range from her lover, Hamlet, to his father, Polonius. Gertrude, the queen, is portrayed as a voluptuous and docile female. It is the job of a feminist critic to study the way women are portrayed in text and identify the stereotypes associated with women, gender roles of women and how women differ from men. In doing so, feminist critics can share their studies so that others will not be unconsciously brainwashed into negatively stereotyping female from reading literature. In obvious ways, Shakespeare includes many instances where men, in a patriarchal play, controls women like tools. Gertrude and Ophelia are forced to fill the role of tools, manipulated to advance the men’s plots. The two were used constantly in order for the men to get what they want. As said by Jacques Lacan, Ophelia is used as a “piece of bait” by the more influential characters, Polonius and Claudius (Lacan). First of all, Hamlet uses Ophelia as a tool to display his madness. Hamlet is aware that he is being watched, so he plans to
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