The Derogatory And Misogynistic Role Of Women In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The first children’s toy with adult features made its first debut in 1959. In New York City the newest doll for little girls around the world hit the shelves at the American Toy Fair. Barbie is society's paradigm of perfection. She is idolized for her sexuality and encourages little girls to become materialistic; much like the roles of women in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, women are seen in a derogatory and misogynistic way. Hamlet captures the relationships and the struggle for identity during a time of great loss among the castle of Elsinore. The play stems from the murder of the beloved King Hamlet and the remarriage of Queen Gertrude to King Hamlet’s brother Claudius. The Prince of Denmark spends a great deal of time grieving, in which…show more content…
The importance of Ophelia and Gertrude in the play is suppressed by the male characters. Ophelia plays the role of a helpless follower who only wants to please the men in her life. She heavily depends on pleasing her father, and even makes the personal sacrifice of breaking ties with Hamlet. After losing the men she valued the most she says, “I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died” (4.4.178). The withered violets symbolize Ophelia’s faith being destroyed when she can’t depend on the men in her life. Ophelia’s sudden loss of the men in her life lead her to complete madness and ultimately death. Shakespeare criticizes the opinions of the time, and believes that women have an importance equal to men. He shows Ophelia’s dependence as weak and unnecessary to contrast with how women should act with independence. When King Hamlet dies Gertrude depends on Claudius to restore her reputation as Queen of Denmark. She falls under the struggle of loyalty to the men in her life when Hamlet asks her to divorce Claudius, and when Claudius asks her to conspire against Hamlet to kill him. After Hamlet gives her valuable advice she sees Claudius and feels the need to confide to him saying, “Mad as the sea and wind when both contend which is the mightier” (4.1.7-8). Shakespeare shows the dependence Gertrude has for the man of greater status rather than her own son to…show more content…
The issues for both of the characters relate in the sense that Hamlet contextualizes all female relationships with one belief that all women are the same. Gertrude’s second marriage to Claudius unveils Hamlet’s deep obsession with his mother’s sexual occurrences when he says, “With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, nor it cannot come to good” (1.2.157-158). Hamlet’s madness deepens with his anger towards his mother as he openly embarresses her saying, “Such an act that blurs the grace and blush of modesty, calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose from the fair forehead of an innocent love” (43-45). Hamlet’s frustration with his mother intensifies the anger he has towards females, leading him to slur sexist comments that apply to ‘all’ women. Shakespeare exposes the perspective of Hamlet’s mother to present future tension in his relationship with Ophelia. The fair Ophelia is treated with disrespect mainly because in Hamlet’s eyes women are the same. His mother’s betrayal leads him to tell Ophelia, "If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them" (3.1.134-136). Hamlet chooses to think less of Ophelia because of her rejection. He connects the attitude of Gertrude with Ophelia to insinuate that all women are the same, this connection damages every female relationship that Hamlet has. Shakespeare creates

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