Gender Roles In Hamlet

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Ekoko Daniel ENG4U. Mrs. El-Husseini November 13, 2015 Gender roles in Hamlet. In the early 1600’s there was a very peculiar way in which the roles of men and women were treated and acknowledged. Dating back to the time of ‘William Shakespeare’ we see in one of his plays Hamlet some ideologies on gender roles in that era through the use of some running imagery in the play. Men in the play appear to judge women based on seemingly high standards that they cannot possibly meet and this can be seen through the use of garden, animals and hunting and pretence imagery. Women in the play are also made to seem weak and susceptible to suggestion, they appear to lack freedom of choice and expression, this is shown through the use of garden and pretence…show more content…
There are multiple scenarios in the play where elements of this ideology can be found. For instance, Polonius says to Ophelia “…Worms ruin flowers before they blossom. Baby blooms are most susceptible to disease. So be careful…”(1.3.35-37). In this scenario Polonius is trying to insinuate through the use of garden and disease/decay imagery that Hamlet is only going to bring hurt to Ophelia and that she might not be able to stand her ground against Hamlet. He is suggesting that she is weak and easy to manipulate, which is something we have become accustomed to in this play. He sees her as a flower ready to blossom and Hamlet as a worm ready to destroy her. His perception of Ophelia shows that women are looked upon as weak and susceptible to suggestion. Also Hamlet says to Ophelia “…This used to be a great puzzle, but now I’ve solved it. I used to love you”(3.1.118-19). Here through the use of pretence imagery we see a scenario in which Hamlet tells Ophelia he never loved her and it was all a lie. This makes Ophelia seem ignorant since she believed that what she had with Hamlet was real. She was a victim of Hamlet’s scheme’s and Ophelia was heart broken and made to seem naive and benighted. In addition Hamlet says to Ophelia “…you call God’s creations by pet names, and you excuse your sexpot ploys by pleading ignorance”(3.1.145-47) Here hamlet is accusing women of calling God’s creations(men) pet names and trying to entice men with their looks through the use of pretence imagery. He makes the women seem naive and
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