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Portrayal of Women in Hamlet
Transcript of Portrayal of Women in Hamlet
Women are portrayed as being dependent on men, thus having a profound affect on their ideas of romance and love.
Ties Between Characters
Women are incorporated as connectors, to create bonds between characters that would not exist otherwise.
Advancing Plot Line
Ophelia is extremely dependent on her father, which affects her interactions with Hamlet.
Gertrude's extreme dependence on men is shown in her poor decision of using Claudius to overcome her previous marriage.
Laertes- "For Hamlet and the trifling of his favour, / Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood, / A violet in the youth of primy nature, / Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, / The perfume and suppliance of a minute; no more." (1.3)
Delicate female characters allow for the plot to advance easily through their constant dependence on men.
allows men to make the decisions
women undoubtedly obey the men
obeys Polonius and Laertes when they tell her to stop seeing Hamlet
obeys Claudius or Hamlet when either of them tell her to do something
Hamlet is aware of Ophelia's obedience to Polonius. He uses this to his advantage by acting crazy, as he knows that Ophelia will tell her father. Once Polonius is made aware of his madness, Hamlet can continue his plan to eventually kill Claudius.
Hamlet - "Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed; / Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse; / And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses, / Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers, / Make you to ravel all this matter out, / That I essentially am not in madness, /But mad in craft.” (3.4)
Gertrude - "Be thou assured, if words be made of breath, / And breath of life, I have no life to breathe / What thou hast said to me."
Claudius - "And we beseech you, bend you to remain / Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye, / Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son." (1.2)
Gertrude - "Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet. / I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg." (1.2)
Polonius- "I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, / Have you so slander any moment leisure, / As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet." (1.3)
Gertrude's complete obedience to any man allows for her to be taken advantage of, thus creating a malleable plot for Shakespeare to utilize.
Hamlet- "Oh, most wicked speed, to post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! / It is not nor it cannot come to good." (1.2)
- "No, my good lord, but, as you did command, / I did repel his letters and denied / His access to me." (2.1)
- "Get thee to a / nunnery, go: 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." (3.1)
Ties together Hamlet and Polonius
Hamlet is Ophelia's lover
Polonius is Ophelia's father
Ties Hamlet together with Claudius
Hamlet is Gertrude's son
Claudius is Gertrude's husband
Ophelia - "I shall watch the effect of this good lesson keep, / As watchman to my heart." (1.3)
Ophelia - "I shall obey, my lord." (1.3)
Both Hamlet and Polonius use Ophelia to accomplish what they want. Hamlet takes advantage of Ophelia when he uses her as part of his plan to kill Claudius. Polonius uses Ophelia in hopes of figuring out Hamlet's madness.
The connection between Claudius and Gertrude causes Hamlet to feel as though he has to be considerate of his frail, emotional mother and not murder Claudius right away
Hamlet- "Look you now, what follows: / Here is your husband, like a mildewed ear, / Blighting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?" (3.4)
Gertrude- "Oh Hamlet, speak no more. / Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul, / And there I see such black and engrained spots / As will not leave their tinct." (3.4)
frail female characters leave room for the men to dominant the concept of a relationship
alters the way characters see themselves
the women make connections with men because they are dependent on them
Choosing to marry Claudius shows that Gertrude is reliant on a man in her life and will sacrifice her hopes of finding true love in order to have a man.
Shakespeare's use of naive and delicate female characters in Hamlet redirect plot lines that feature tragic love and emotional ties.
The women of Hamlet appear as minor characters, but truly add definition to the story. Their presence adds romance and ties many of the characters to one another. The delicate traits they possess make them dependent on men. Because of this, the plot line can easily progress through the men’s decisions without need for the author to go into depth about how the female characters adjust to the changes.
Ophelia - "Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced; / No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd, / Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle; / Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other; / And with a look so piteous in purport / As if he had been loosed out of hell / To speak of horrors,--he comes before me." (2.1)
Polonius has a great influence on Ophelia because she has no mother figure in her life. She ends her romantic relationship with Hamlet when her father advises her to. Because of this, Hamlet is very harsh towards Ophelia and any romantic interactions they once had are brought to an end.
Mackenzie Burke and Mikaela Mutchler