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Hamlet's Bitter Attitude Projected Onto Women

918 words - 4 pages

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a young prince named Hamlet is shocked to learn of his father’s murder carried out by his uncle and his mother’s incestuous marriage with his uncle. Hamlet is undoubtedly angry and upset at his mother for remarrying so soon after the death of his father and begins to believe all women act in the same manner as his mother. Through Hamlet’s harsh treatment of the female characters, Shakespeare portrays an unjust distrust towards all women and their presumed potential for betrayal.
The queen’s impetuous remarriage ruined Hamlet’s opinion on womanhood. After Hamlet’s speech about suicide and death, Hamlet describes the causes of his pain, specifically his disgust at his ...view middle of the document...

Hamlet confronts his mother about her marriage to Claudius. Hamlet reveals Gertrude's sins to her by showing her the two portraits of King Hamlet and King Claudius. Hamlet feels that Gertrude has betrayed her first husband by marrying his brother Claudius. Hamlet treats his mother with harsh words, for she is to blame for the hate that now consumes him. Hamlet attacks his mother by asking her, "What devil was 't/ That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind?" (Shakespeare, III. iv. 86-87) Gertrude has taken away his perception of women as innocent and loyal. Hamlet is very rude and verbally abusive with Gertrude. Hamlet accuses his mother for destroying his ability to love, as shown through his bitter treatment of Ophelia. Gertrude’s actions have caused Hamlet to view all women, not just his mother and Ophelia, in a different and feeble light. Hamlet generalizes his contempt toward Gertrude onto women in general and thus begins to attack Ophelia with the same harshness.
Hamlet elaborates on his distrust towards women through his unraveling relationship with Ophelia. Before the nunnery scene, Claudius and Polonius plan to set a trap for Hamlet to spy on him, with Ophelia as the willing decoy. Hamlet realizes Ophelia is lying to him and acting as a spy on behalf of the king. Hamlet condemns her for being so frail and succumbing so easily to the dominance of men over her. Angered, Hamlet proclaims Ophelia to “Get thee to a/ nunnery…if thou wilt needs marry,/ marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what/ monsters you make of them” (Shakespeare, III. i. 148-151). Hamlet attacks all womankind for their supposed unfaithfulness and flirtatious...

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