The Use of Women as a Tool to Untie Hamlet

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The Use of Women as a Tool to Untie Hamlet In the play, Hamlet, William Shakespeare crafts a tragedy centralized around the main character, Prince Hamlet and his negative perception of the women in his life. One main point of Shakespeare’s piece is to highlight how a female’s weakness ultimately shapes the decisions of their male counterparts. He does so by skillfully using the nature of a woman as a compelling force that leads to Hamlet’s destruction. Prince Hamlet struggles with accepting the harsh reality that his mother has remarried to her late husband’s brother. This conflict within Hamlet is further expounded by the possibility that his father was murdered by his uncle, King Cladius. In an attempt to cope with the moral weakness of his mother, Prince Hamlet dispels any sympathetic feelings toward women causing him to ruin his relationship with Ophelia and leaving him lonely. In order to accurately interpret Shakespeare’s usage of a female’s role throughout his play it is imperative to consider the greater source of his ideas-his historical background. The historical period of the Elizabethan era influenced Shakespeare’s negative portrayal of women and thus, he uses the women in his play as tools in unraveling Prince Hamlet. In Hamlet, it can be noted that the patriarchal setup of society mirrors that of England during the Elizabethan era. This shows that Shakespeare’s basis for this tragedy was inspired by the moral standards set by society in his time. During the Elizabethan epoch the role of women were restricted because they were considered the weaker sex that had to be guided by the males in their lives. According to Alchin, marriages were often arranged to maintain family wealth where the men were the breadwinners and the women simply were housewives and child bearers (2). The patriarchal system within this play can be seen in the contrast of powers
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