The Portrayal of Women in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
The portrayal of the women characters in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, illustrated stereotypical women based on a feminist’s point of view.
Hamlet, the most famous play in the English language, was popularized by the best known poet, William Shakespeare. The play was probably written in 1601 or 1602. Shakespeare achieved artistic maturity in this work through his brilliant depiction of the hero’s struggle with two opposing forces: moral integrity and the need to avenge his father’s murder. "Hamlet is always with us. Even those who have never read the complete play or seen a performance know a few lines of "To be or not to be" and recognize the image of a young man contemplating the skull of his dead friend." (MacCary xi). This Shakespearean play depicted tragedy and revenge. Hamlet, the son of King Hamlet, avenged for the death of his father. The plot basically revolved around Hamlet’s plan to kill Claudius, whom he believed to have murdered his father. Shakespeare did a little twist in this part. It happened that Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, married Claudius who then became king in place of king Hamlet. Claudius was the brother of King Hamlet. There is now an angle of Levirate marriage in this part (which we will discuss later). As the plot progressed, Hamlet unintentionally killed Polonius, who was hiding while Hamlet was talking with his mother. Hamlet thought that the person hiding behind the curtains was Claudius, whom he really wanted to kill, so he stabbed him unhesitatingly. Polonius is the father of another woman character, Ophelia, with whom Hamlet fell in love with. In the end, Gertrude died of poison when she drank from the cup which was intended to kill Claudius.
The world’s most prominent dramatist and poet, William Shakespeare, was the creator of many famous plays. He was widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language. As a poet, Shakespeare wrote a total of 154 sonnets as well as a variety of other poems. As a playwright, he produced a total of 38 plays. His works, which are believed to have been produced in between 1586 and 1612, were mostly about romance and tragedy. He was believed to be the most-quoted writer in the literature. His plays have been translated to many different languages. And up to this moment, Shakespeare’s works are still performed everywhere. In this play, Shakespeare included two major women characters, Gertrude and Ophelia. These characters are considered important because they played very specific roles in the play which made it interesting. This paper will try to trace the reasons behind the women characters’ behavior. In this paper, we will find out these characters’ strengths and weaknesses and how they contributed in the continuity of the plot. Based on a feminist’s point of view, this paper will try to analyze the said women character. A stated earlier, this analysis of Hamlet will focus on the women characters and will therefore use Feminist criticism. In the 1960s, for the first time since the women's vote was won, feminism again surfaced as an important political force in the Western world (Moi 21). This literary criticism concern itself with stereotypical representations of genders. It is the type of criticism which may study and advocate the rights of women. This kind of study may involve the question; how do men and women differ? It also involves the study of a woman’s repression in a particular fiction. Feminist Criticism begins in the personal response of women readers to women writers, and in the implicit repudiation of any critical stance which claims to be objective (Kaplan, 37). This type of criticism involves how women perceive a certain text or a certain work of art. It very much acknowledges the views of women when it comes to appreciation of art such as literary pieces. For this particular fiction, we will study the character of Ophelia and Gertrude. Ophelia is the daughter of...
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