The Importance of Women in Hamlet Essay

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Andrea Cardenas Mr. Kruszynski ENG 3U1 14 May 2012 The Consequence of Weakness Throughout history, there have been many accomplished women who have done great things such as Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the structure of DNA and Gertrude B. Ellen, who discovered anti-cancer drugs. However, in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, women are portrayed as the complete opposite of accomplished and great. As seen throughout the play, one of the main themes in Hamlet is misogyny. The main character Hamlet is portrayed as a misogynist due to his negative view on women. It can also be seen that Hamlet’s opinion of woman is due to the influence of the women he knows. Hamlet’s perception of women is distorted because of Ophelia, his love interest, and Gertrude, his mother, who have betrayed him in some way. Both Ophelia and Gertrude are incapable of living without a man and need one in their lives to guide them. Secondly, Ophelia and Gertrude submit and obey their male counterparts to be controlled by them. Lastly, they are both confused and mostly completely unaware of their surroundings. Through their deaths, Gertrude and Ophelia highlight the position of women within this tragedy; they are the victims of their male counterparts’ corruption and deceit. Ophelia, however, is more of a victim of her unfortunate death than Gertrude. The ideal woman from Shakespearean times differs greatly from an ideal woman in the twenty-first century. A young woman was expected to be delicate, polite and dependent on the men in their lives. In Hamlet, Gertrude and Ophelia are prime examples of what a woman was expected to be in their times. They are both very dependent on others and are not able to function without a man leading them. One of Ophelia’s biggest flaws is her innocence and naivety, thus leading her to rely solely on her father,
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