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Misogyny in Hamlet
Transcript of Misogyny in Hamlet
Definition of Misogyny
Misogyny refers to the hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women. There are many instances in the play where Hamlet's misogynous feelings are revealed. Whether it is toward his own mother, Gertrude, or toward his love, Ophelia, Hamlet is very harsh toward women in this play.
Throughout the play, there are quite a few instances where Hamlet shows hatred or distrust of women. Right off the bat we know that Hamlet is an unmarried man in his 30's, a very uncommon occurrence in Europe at this time. He seems very attached to his mother, but he constantly defies her and yells at her. In addition, his relationship with Ophelia is very interesting. He seems to be confused, as he is constantly either proclaiming his love for her or abusing her. It is these actions that shows of Hamlet's misogynous ways.
Treatment of Gertrude
Throughout the novel, Hamlet reveals his extreme anger and frustration toward his mother quite often. While his anger may have been justified (as she did marry and sleep with his uncle just months after his death), he expresses this anger by screaming at his mother and lecturing her multiple times throughout the play. Hamlet's great love and admiration for his mother strongly conflicts with his anger at her many times throughout the play.
Treatment of Ophelia
Although he loves Ophelia very much, he does not often show it. There are many instances in the play in which Hamlet abuses Ophelia, both verbally and physically. However, there are also many times when he expresses how dearly he loves her. It seems that deep down, Hamlet loves Ophelia, but, like his mother, some of the things that she does angers him . There is a constant mental internal conflict within Hamlet.
Hamlet's words about sexuality
Hamlet becomes scornful of women in general. There are times in the play that he describes a connection between women’s sexuality and immorality. This contemptuous view of women’s sexuality is what causes him to have such impaired relationships with Gertrude and Ophelia. Also, some interpreters believe that Hamlet may have been gay, due to his extreme affection for Horatio combined with a seemingly lack of affection for Gertrude and Ophelia.