The Role of Women in Hamlet (Act I)

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Name: CLAUDIA Second Essay: The role of women in Hamlet (Act I) During Elizabethan period women were expected to be obedient to their husbands. Also, they were considered inferior than men in general. We can analyze how Shakespeare reflects this submission of women through the characters of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet’s play (act I). First of all, we can say that Hamlet’s view of Gertrude, his mother was not common, because he is always judging her decisions, but what is important of all, Gertrude’s remarriage to his Brother in law. One clear example of Hamlet’s anger is shown in his first soliloquy, when he says “FRAILTY THY NAME IS WOMAN”. Here, he refers to women in general saying that all are weak but he remarks her mother’s attitude towards his recent father’s death saying: “A LITTLE MONTH, OR ERE THOSE SHOES WERE OLD, WITH WHICH SHE FOLLOW’D MY POOR FATHER’S BODY”. Besides, he compares her mother to a beast saying that Gertrude has not respect to her husband’s memory:”O, GOD! A BEAST THAT WANTS DISCOURSE OF REASON, WOULD HAVE MOURN’D LONGER”. Despite Hamlet’s anger, Gertrude’s love to him has not changed at all, because she only wants her son’s happiness. The other female character is Polonius’ daughter, Ophelia, a young girl who is in love with Hamlet. Through Ophelia’s character, we can see obedience and innocence when her brother Laertes and her father say to her to be aware of Hamlet’s real intentions-“A VIOLET IN THE YOUTH OF PRIMY NATURE…THE PERFUME AND SUPPLIANCE OF A MINUTE, NO MORE”(Laertes); “YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOURSELF SO CLEARLY”; “YOU SPEAK LIKE A GREEN GIRL”(Polonius). Here Polonius treats her daughter like a child, who believes every sweet word, so for him she is an immature girl. Also her answers to men in their life led to think about her obedience-“I SHALL THE EFFECT OF THIS GOOD LESSON KEEP...”; “I SHALL OBEY, MY LORD” In my
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