Gender Roles In Hamlet

462 Words2 Pages
Shakespeare’s Hamlet contains strong themes of inequality that set up the blatant gender inferiority and superiority complex shown throughout the play. This complex can be seen in the character relationships between: Ophelia and Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius. In these relationships, the male insults or criticizes the female in that relationship and it is in those moments that the weak and submissive behavior of the woman is evident. Ophelia is told by her brother, Laertes, that Hamlet does not reciprocate her affections and will only use and abuse her: “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.” (Shakespeare 1. 3. 27-32). She then responds with “Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads” (Shakespeare 1. 3. 52-54). Ophelia comments on the unfair standard her brother is placing upon her; she is instructed by him to live a…show more content…
3. 136-137). Hamlet’s past words of love and devotion mean nothing and should not be trusted to with her maidenhood. Polonius commands Ophelia to cease contact with Hamlet: “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.” (Shakespeare 1. 4. 141-143). Ophelia is expected to heed her father’s warnings and obey her father’s command due to the societal expectations; she is a woman who should only follow. The concerns and opinions of her father hold more importance than her love for Hamlet. This is an example of how men assume the obedience of women and how they ignore the words and wants of
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