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"Hamlet": A Misogynist? Essay

1009 words - 4 pages

Shakespeare's literature has given his audience the grounds to believe that his tragic hero Hamlet is somewhat of a misogynist. A misogynist can be defined as a man who shows exaggerated aversion towards women. The word "misogynist" comes from ancient Greek words "misein" meaning hate and "gyne" meaning women. Hamlet's demeanor leads the reader to believe that Shakespeare could have shared the same views as his protagonist Hamlet. In the play, there are many examples of speech from Hamlet, which convey misogynic beliefs. These quotes are directed at both his mother, Gertrude, and to some extent his "love," Ophelia. Hamlets remarks at the two women in his life can lead a reader to believe he is a misogynist.The way Ophelia is treated by Hamlet shows his vision towards all women. He treats Ophelia as just another women as he judges her like the rest, who are all the same. He says "Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them" (Act 3, Scene 1, Line 136-138). The way Hamlet speaks to Ophelia in the play shows his belief of how women manipulate the men in his society at the time. When Hamlet says "if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them," he generalizes women in two different views. In one sense, he is stating that all women seduce men as a way to get what they want or in other words, manipulation. The other way to look at this statement is by taking the comment on marriage, and interpreting it as how all women believe that they can trick their foolish husbands, and cheat on them. Hamlet considers marriage a trap for men set by all women and that only the foolish men fail to realize it for what it is. Ophelia is made to be the love of the hero in the play, but Hamlet views her and all women as unfaithful and deceiving individuals.Hamlet can be seen to treat women poorly but he also regards his mother in the same manner. Soon into the play, Hamlet realizes that his mother is just like the rest of the women in his world. His mother Gertrude, soon after her first husband passed, didn't spend much time in finding her new partner. Hamlet shows his feelings towards his mother in his first soliloquy. He states "Let me not think on 't. Frailty, thy name is woman! A little month, or ere those shoes were old..." (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 146) In this passage, Hamlet expresses a lot of his feelings for his mother and women in general. He begins by saying "Frailty, thy name is women," which is interpreted as "women you are so weak." This is Hamlet saying that women are pathetic and are not sure of them-selves. He also goes as far as saying that even a beast would mourn the death of its partner longer then his mother did his father as she remarried under a...

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