Hamlet, A Feminist Lens Essay

883 Words Jan 17th, 2014 4 Pages
Hamlet Through A Feminist Lens Hamlet can be viewed through a feminist lens by focusing on Ophelia and Gertrude and how various other male characters treat them. Ophelia and Gertrude are dismissed as characters through the entire play because they are women. Hamlet refers to women as “frailty,” implying that they are weak and are dependent on men. Reason suggests that with out the males, Ophelia and Gertrude would simply have no story. Within the first scene of Hamlet the reader discovers that Gertrude’s husband, the late King Hamlet, has passed and Gertrude has taken a new husband in Old Hamlet’s brother, Claudius. The time passed between the death of Old Hamlet and the marriage of Gertrude was very brief, “but two months …show more content…
She goes from the control of her father, to the lover abiding by Hamlet, to the mirror image of Hamlet. David Leverenz points out that Ophelia “Thinking she is not loved by him, she becomes him, or at least what she conceives to him to be.” To revive Hamlets love for her, Ophelia imitates Hamlet. She has to imitate and assimilate with him through Hamlet. This is why Ophelia sings, “He is dead and gone.” Because Ophelia has adopted Hamlet’s madness, Hamlet, whose love for Ophelia has withered away, is considered “dead and gone” to Ophelia. Closer to the end of the play, Ophelia’s madness resembles Hamlet’s more and more. Laertes says that in Ophelia’s language “[t]his nothing’s more than matter.” Polonius had a similar response to Hamlet’s language stating, “How pregnant sometimes his replies are!” Indicating that both of their mad languages are somewhat incomprehensible to all other characters with in the play. Their language is referred to as “nothing,” meaning they speak with a void that can never be filled, namely the loss of their beloved fathers, but they with attempt to fill with the nothings of adultery. Evidently Ophelia is doomed to commit sin. The ultimate end of Ophelia is controversial. David Leverenz believes that “Ophelia’s downing signifies the necessity of drowning both words and feelings.” This backing up that Ophelia never feels that she is wanted or understood.

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