Aspects of Life in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Trifles
In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the protagonist, Hamlet, has arrived “from his university studies to find Claudius, his uncle, ruling Denmark and married to his mother, Gertrude. Her remarriage within two months of his father’s death has left Hamlet disillusioned, confused, and suspicious about Claudius” (DiYanni 1394). These types of crimes do not only happen in a person’s imagination, or in a made-up play, but also in our society today. Our society is just as immoral as Claudius and Gertrude. On the other hand, in Susan Gaspell’s contemporary play, Trifles, women are strong in character, protective of one another, and in charge of the situation, unlike Gertrude. Therefore, both Shakespeare and Gaspell have similar aspects of portrayal of the role of women, murder, and loyalty; and different aspects such as incest, suicide, and revenge.
First, in the play, Hamlet, the males are depicted as dominant, strong, and rational; and the females are portrayed by opposing traits such as passive, accepting, hesitant, frail, and emotional. For instance, Hamlet referring to his mother as “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (I.ii.146) means that women are images of weakness, that women are weak-minded, easily led, and have no strength of character. To Hamlet, his mother's action of remarrying so quickly after her husband’s death to her brother-in-law, is a proof of her frailty. In today’s society, people also marry within the family thinking that there is nothing wrong with this scenario. However, this aspect discussed in the play cause great controversy because many people think that as long as there is love it does not matter who a person marries, but in reality, it does matter. It matters because marriage is a holy ceremony where morals are greatly at play. “And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing…they shall be childless” (Holy Bible, Leviticus 20.21). “And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter…it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people…he shall bear his iniquity” (Holy Bible, Leviticus 20.17). Consequently, marriage within one’s family shall and will be punished. An online article written by Nick O’Dell states, “Allen and Patty Muth were sentenced to eight and five years in prison, …for choosing each other as lovers…They are also brother and sister, whose sexual relationship began as adults - he is now 46 and she 31. They were convicted of felony incest.” Their immorality is the same, if not worse than Gertrude and Claudius’s immorality; however, Gertrude and Claudius are not punished by the law but by Hamlet, himself, which is the only difference.
In addition, his mother is not the only one who is weak, in Hamlet’s eyes; he considers all females weak-minded and corruptible. He thinks if an adult woman like his mother has behaved in such a way under the influence of her...