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The Poor Treatment Of Women In Hamlet By Willaim Shakespeare

1169 words - 5 pages

“Frailty, thy name is woman” (I.ii.150). The most significant reason for Hamlet’s first soliloquy is based on how he feels about “woman”, mostly referring to his mother. Hamlet shows no respect towards his mother. Shakespeare tries to show Hamlet and other male characters as assertive men. However, in Shakespeare different plays women play a variety of roles. Throughout the play Hamlet, Shakespeare demonstrated brutal treatment towards women by the male characters in the play, whether it be verbally or with emotional abuse. Not only were the women manipulated by the male characters, but they were also controlled by their beloved ones.
One of the main relationships in which there is great deal of control and manipulation is between Hamlet and Ophelia. Ophelia is the only lady in her family. Her family includes her father Polonius and brother Laertes. Ophelia is an obedient lady who views the men in her life as her only reference in life’s dilemmas. However, there is irony from the advice that her family gives her to prevent her from being with Hamlet. Laertes mentions to Ophelia, “Then, if he says he loves you,/ It fits your wisdom so far to believe it/ As he in his particular act and place/ May give his saying deed, which is no further/ Than the main voice of Denmark goes withal./ Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain”(I.iii.41). Laertes tries to protect Ophelia by telling her to be wise enough on believing Hamlet’s words. Laertes does not only approve of Ophelia’s love for Hamlet because he does not want his sister to be hurt. Ophelia as the obedient lady she is, tells Laertes that she will take his words of wisdom close to her mind. The main example of Hamlet showing the act of being callous and over controlling is when he speaks to Ophelia. Hamlet with harsh words tells Ophelia, “If thou dost marry, I’ll give thee this plague/ for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as/snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. / Get thee to a/ nunnery, farewell. Or, if thou wilt needs marry, / marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what/ monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and/ quickly too. Farewell” (III.i.146). Hamlet mocks Ophelia by telling her to go to a convent rather than to give birth to children who will be sinners, like he is. Not only does he mock Ophelia, Hamlet goes on to question the intelligence of women. He believes that marriage is absurd. Hamlet tries to make Ophelia feel as she is a barren person who is insignificant to any other women. Hamlet shows how his feelings were hurt over Ophelia’s rejection.
Not only is Ophelia the only woman to get controlled, but Gertrude is another woman in the story to get manipulated. Gertrude is the mother of Hamlet and Queen of Denmark. In the beginning of the play Gertrude remarried after her husband’s death. Gertrude married Hamlet’s father’s brother, Claudius. Gertrude is very fond of Hamlet; however, he does not respect her after remarriage. The fact that she married her...

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