Anti-Feminism In Hamlet Essay

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In Shakespeare’s dramatic works there is no room for the heroic or the strong woman, and therefore many of his plays can be perceived as being antifeminist. Often he portrays women as weak, mad, sexual, and as even witches. Hamlet is no exception. The only women in the play, Ophelia and Queen Gertrude, are given confined and limited roles. These roles are from a male-dominated viewpoint and only add focus to the male characters instead of incorporating the insight and the impact of the women as well. The Western world in Shakespeare’s time was male dominated, and men only had regards for women when it was connected to their bodies. The sexual objectification of women was normal in that society and women were seen as the property of …show more content…
Her insights are hardly ever solicited and a specific example of this is shown on page 80 when she was asked by the King to leave so that the men can advise Ophelia on how to trick Hamlet into confessing his love for her. In a feminist perspective Gertrude was dismissed rather than solicited for her advice on the matter, it is obvious the King never even thought to ask for her opinion because to him it was not important. She responds by saying, “I shall obey” (3.1.36), and many might see this as her being submissive and lacking forethought on the matter but it is clear that Claudius dismisses her so often that it is now a common thing. At the beginning of Act 3 Scene 4 Polonius gives the Queen orders to tell Hamlet that his behavior is upsetting to the court; “Look you lay home to him/Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with/ And that your Grace hath screen’d and stood between/much heat and him. I’ll silence me even here/Pray you be round [with him]” (3.4.1-5). This is a direct order in which the Queen assures him that she will do her best. It shows that the Queen is amenable even to Polonius who is her inferior in rank. In this same scene it shows that the Queen is also subjected to Hamlet her son. Hamlet lets his mother know that he disapproves her hasty marriage but in a way that no son should ever talk to their mother, or a Prince to a Queen. Hamlet calls his mother a hypocrite who “makes

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