The Characterization of Women in Hamlet Essay

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Characterisation of Women In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, the women are portrayed in a negative light. Gertrude and Ophelia have many similar personality traits, for example, they are both intrinsically weak and dependent on men. There are also vast differences between the two characters, Gertrude is shallow, fickle and morally blind whereas Ophelia is obedient placid and easily manipulated and exploited. Although they both have many negative qualities neither character is evil; their just naive. Gertrude is a weak character, who is dependent on men. Throughout the play she lives in the shadow of the two Kings. According to Hamlet she was completely dependent on King Hamlet while they were married. “She would hang on him as if increase of appetite had grown on what it fed on.” When Old Hamlet died, Gertrude became dependent on Claudius. They marry with unseemly haste which shows Gertrude’s fear of being alone. Claudius refers to her as the “imperial jointress of the state” but it is clear that this is not true. Gertrude is never treated as his equal. Gertrude’s “O’er hasty marriage” to Claudius also shows how she is a fickle and shallow character. She seemed to love Old Hamlet but she betrays him by marrying Claudius only weeks after his death. “Funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables”. It is also suggested in the play that she betrayed Old Hamlet in life as well by committing adultery, “My most seemingly virtuous Queen”. Gertrude is insensitive to Hamlet’s grief. Old Hamlets death was not the only cause of Hamlet’s anguish, His mother’s “O’er hasty marriage” also played a contributing factor. Gertrude doesn’t ever sympathise with Hamlet, but rather, she tells him to set aside his mourning clothes, “Cast thy nighted colour off”. Gertrude seems to want Hamlet to accept Claudius, displaying her naivety and selfishness. Gertrude seems to want

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