“Is Hamlet Less About Revenge and More About Fear and Loathing of Female Sexuality?”

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“Is Hamlet less about revenge and more about fear and loathing of female sexuality?” In Shakespeare’s revenge tragedy Hamlet, a number of themes, including remarriage and death, contribute to Hamlet’s harmatia, his fatal flaw. It can be argued that the Hamlet’s hamartia, his fear and loathing of female sexuality, provoked by his father’s murder and his mother’s hasty remarriage, makes Hamlet a play more concerned with female sexuality, than revenge. Shakespeare uses Hamlet as a vehicle for Elizabethan society’s views on incestuous relationships: that to marry any member of your family was wrong, which was based on the Old Testament book of Leviticus 20:21. Gertrude’s incestuous relationship with Hamlet’s Uncle is the main focus of his loathing; their relationship appals him, “...sweat of an enseamed bed stewed in corruption” Hamlet claims their union is unnatural; Shakespeare’s choice of repugnant imagery lends emphasis to his reaction. ‘Enseame’, the fat that is produced from a cooked animal, reflects the repulsion which Hamlet feels towards his Uncle. Alternatively, ‘enseamed’ is possibly a reference to Hamlet’s Uncle’s semen, produced after sleeping with his mother, giving proof of their incestuous relationship. Hamlet’s loathing is inevitable. The disgusted tone of: “You are the Queen, your husband’s brother’s wife” further shows Hamlet’s contempt towards his mother. The noun ‘Queen’ reflects royalty, elegance and patriotism; Gertrude’s character should be a symbol of a respectable monarchy and stable country. The comma used after ‘Queen’ adds a greater emphasis on her status, and highlights her wrongdoing, by allowing a pause after the powerful noun, creating a sense of irony showing his disdain. Due to the evil conflict being caused by the Queen’s sexual encounters, the play conforms to a Shakespearean tragedy as it involves a person of high
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