Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet Characters

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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In the play Hamlet Gertrude and Ophelia are portrayed as weak characters. The
men in their lives have complete control over them. These women obviously do not
have a mind of their own. If they listened to themselves, they would have more
control of their lives. Ophelia is one of those women who is a lost cause to
society. She makes women look helpless and that we can be easily manipulated.
Hamlet basically used Ophelia as merely a toy to play with. She was never
treated as a human being only as an object. Hamlet told Ophelia that he "I
loved you not. (1097)" He made her a weak individual by saying
"Frailty thy name is women. (1062)" This quote made Ophelia looks like
she could never hold her own ground. Whenever Polonius needed her, she was
always at his becking call. She has a tendency to not be true to her man Hamlet.
Since she was under the control of her father, he convinced her to find out
information from Hamlet. Hamlet: Ha, ha! Are you honest? Ophelia: My lord?
Hamlet: Are you fair? Ophelia: What means your lordship? Hamlet: That if you be
honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty (1097).
Hamlet was on to her in this discussion he knew that she was lying. He just
wanted to her feel like the weaker one. He also wanted to shoe his Uncle and
Polonius that he knew what was up. Ophelia sells hamlet out to follow the orders
of her father. Since Ophelia has no true identity to herself, all she merely can
be is a pawn on a chessboard. Gertrude is one of those women that knows exactly
what is going and never says anything. She definitely knows how and who killed
her husband but, thinks it is a great idea to keep her mouth shut. Gertrude had
the nerve to marry her husband's brother two months after he died. In a way that
portrays that she never really loved the king. Hamlet: Mother, you have my
father much offended. Queen: Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue. Hamlet:
Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue. Queen: Why, how now, Hamlet! Hamlet:
What's the matter now? Queen: Have you forgot me? Hamlet: No, by the rood, not
so: You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; And,--would it were not
so!–you are my mother(1097) . In this discussion Hamlet is telling his mom
that he disapproves of her marriage. He also tells her that she is not paying
any attention to him. Gertrude has a hard time standing up for herself and her
son. The king has such control over her that it seems like she never has her own
opinion. She always agrees with Claudius and never speaks out about any issues
that is happening in the castle. Gertrude is a spineless waif, she is a nobody
but at the same time she is a someone to her people. It is like she is a paradox
to her identity. She never knows what identity to portray to her husband or to
her people. Gertrude now begins to see her epiphany. By Hamlet's yelling and
screaming Gertrude finally understood why Hamlet was so upset. Queen: O Hamlet,
speak no more: Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul; And there I see such
black and grained spots as will not leave there tinct. Hamlet: Nay, but to live
In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making
love over the nasty sty,- Queen: O, speak to me nomore; These words like daggers
enter in mine ears; No, more sweet Hamlet(1113-14). In this play the female
heroine has a way of making women look weak and helpless. To women of today this
play would be extremely insulting to the female mind. In Hamlet women have been
viewed as frail subordinate creature. As the reader this play sends a
contemptuous message to women.
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