Hamlet Roles of Women

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The Role of Women in Hamlet In the tragic play Hamlet by William Shakespeare the title character’s lack of action due to an overly analytical personality, to avenge his father’s death leads to the unfortunate state of Denmark. The influence of the women, as seen in both Ophelia and Gertrude, as Hamlet avenges his father’s death, affected the characters closest to Ophelia and Gertrude and in doing so destroyed the state of Denmark. Shakespeare’s Hamlet uses the influence of women, Gertrude and Ophelia, to demonstrate the betrayal in characters’ lives and how the decisions of these women, lead to other characters ill-advised choices and thus moving the plot along. As the play begins King Claudius, Hamlet’s Uncle, addresses the Danish court regarding his recent marriage to Gertrude, wife of the deceased king and mother of Hamlet. This establishes the first enactment of betrayal in the play which is shown when Hamlet delivers his first soliloquy to the audience. During the soliloquy Hamlet mourns his father’s death but announces “Frailty, thy name is woman” (1.2.146), which reveals Hamlet`s thoughts about Gertrude. Hamlet states that his mother is too weak, and reveals that she was co-dependent on Elder Hamlet. However he does not understand how she could turn around in a month and marry her brother-in-law. Shakespeare uses Hamlet`s hatred towards his mother to establish the betrayal Hamlet is feeling, and to acknowledge the fractured state of Hamlet`s family due to Gertrude`s actions and decisions. Not only did Gertrude betray her own son by marrying Claudius but she also betrayed her former husband, Elder Hamlet. Alone, Hamlet talks to the ghost of Elder Hamlet who expresses his disappointment in Gertrude, calling her an “adulterate beast” (1.5.42), meaning she has
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