Throughout the decades, women have been portrayed inadequately. Far too often, the representations of women tend to be stereotyped as delicate, demure, and silent, despite the harsh realities of the world. Women are constructed as either mentally insane, sexually immoral, or emotionally depressed, often a bit of all three. Throughout William Shakespeare’s play, the two main female characters are Ophelia, Hamlet’s lover and the daughter of the Lord Chamberlain, Polonius and Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother who is in an incestuous marriage with Claudius, the present king of Denmark and is the widow of the old king Hamlet. Shakespeare uses the main male characters to portray these two female characters as weak, vulnerable and powerless through their words and actions. The men in their lives have complete control over them; they are willing to do what they are told and to agree to everything that is said to them. They do not appear to have a mind of their own.
At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is not being himself as a result of his father’s death. He then becomes King soon after his father deceased. He is angry about a lot of things. To start off with, Hamlet is outrage about his uncle remarrying his mother. In addition to that, Hamlets’ madness has driven him insane, and that had caused him to standardize women. Hamlet is totally furious by the idea of Gertrude marriage and he cannot come to terms with it. This has a very significant effect on Hamlets relationship with his mother and uncle, Claudius. Hamlet mentions that the time between the death and marriage is “…two months dead! Nay, not so much, not two” (1. 2. 138). Later on in the play, when he discusses his mother’s appetite for Claudius and her desire for him Hamlet states “Buy what it fed on: and yet, within a moth” (1. 2. 145) Ultimately, Hamlet is mentally and physically disturbed by the idea because it all happen way too soon, just like in a blank of an eye. And it seemed as if Gertrude do not pay enough respect to mourn the death of Hamlet’s father. Hamlet also expresses that he is appalled by Gertrude’s need for a new man. As if she is unable to control her sensual desire. Gertrude’s actions shows a lot about her character and who she is as a women. Hamlet expresses his disgust for his mother’s erotic behaviour by saying “O most wicked speed to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (1. 2. 156- 157). Once again, Hamlet points out how quick Gertrude remarry Claudius, and marrying one’s brother’s widow is incest. The thought of Gertrude and Claudius kills him and this anger that he possess. It is obvious that he is appalled by how quick Gertrude remarried, and her insensitive to Hamlets deceased father’s memory. Hamlet sees his mother as a weak women who cannot protect her integrity. Overall, the relationship between the three characters is broken. Consequently, Hamlets’ disgust and motives are all generate by his mother marrying his father’s brother, the individual he truly despises.
Furthermore, the role of Ophelia is introduce as a loyal, gentle, and obedient beautiful young woman who portend to be the love of Hamlet’s life, even though he sporadically think of her or considers her in his plans. Most of the time, Hamlet just appears to be cruel to her, as if he is just taking advantage of her, as is so when Ophelia tells her father that Hamlet appears to her to look and act like a crazy man. It seems very likely he is just using Ophelia as part of his conspiracy to get the word out that he is insane. In point of fact, Ophelia is an example of a perfect daughter who obeys her father without argument. Even when she is ask to reject Hamlet whom she believes is the love of her life, she responds subserviently that she will obey, and meets with Hamlet to deceive him. Polonius also uses his daughter for his own reasons, which in this case, is to spy on Hamlet. This actually becomes a turning point in the play. Hamlet reveals his complex feelings for Ophelia as well as the depth by which he is hurt and betrayed by her. As Ophelia tries to return his gifts his feelings become evident. Hamlet becomes defensive refusing to accept the return, and responds with, “I never give you aught” (). He then continues to express his anger and disgust with women and humanity as he tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” This hurts Ophelia mentally as well as physically since he has thrown her around a bit and she expresses this with her own thoughts.
One of the male characters Claudius, who is Hamlet’s uncle, the brother of the late King Hamlet, and the new King of Denmark. Typical of Shakespeare’s great villain, Claudius is a thoroughly human, flawed, interesting, three-dimensional character. Claudius is Hamlet’s antagonist who, through a combination of his lust for power and his love for his brother’s wife, has committed “the primal eldest” crime, “a brother’s murder.” (Act 3, Scene 3) He is contrasted starkly with his noble warrior brother as a shrewd and cunning political animal, and according to Hamlet he is a drunk and a man at the mercy of sensual impulses. Claudius is a worthy opponent for Hamlet through his intelligence, his power of perception and his ability to manipulate language. Shakespeare gives him sophisticated rhetorical speeches that charm, persuade and overwhelm those around him. His first speech (Act 1, Scene 2) to the court magnificently deals with a major personal controversy (his marriage), a major political threat (Norway) and the requests of two significant courtiers (Laertes and Hamlet) with effortless skill. He charismatically greets and employs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He instinctively recognises Hamlet is not mad. He holds a personal discourse of forgiveness with God in the chapel that shows a very honest self-knowledge and his easy manipulation of the furious Laertes makes him seem impenetrable. What panache must he have displayed to woo Gertrude, still in mourning for his own brother! His charms are given extraordinary emphasis by Shakespeare. He stifles all attempts at maternal feeling from his wife toward her son and is profoundly selfish, disregarding the danger Gertrude was in when he hears of Polonius’ murder. And again, offering only a feeble “Gertrude, do not drink” (Act 5, Scene 2) when she picks up the poisoned goblet during the duel. But his affection for Gertrude and desire to preserve her feelings also sees him make the mistakes that condemn him. He tells Laertes that Gertrude is “so conjunctive to my life and soul, that as the star moves not but in his sphere, so I could not but by her” (Act 4, Scene 7) and some of his actions reflect a truth in that. He could have disposed of Hamlet legally and publicly for the murder of Polonius, but Gertrude’s desperate pleas will not allow it. Instead he tries an underhand political machination with the English King which fails. Again to ensure “that even his mother shall uncharge the practice and call it accident” (Act 4, Scene 7), he hatches a complex revenge for Laertes to carry out, rather than let him simply attack and kill Hamlet. Again the margin for error exposes him and destroys him.In this play, Shakespeare uses Laertes as one of the male characters Laertes is Polonius’son. Laertes is established in immediate opposition to Hamlet from the opening of the play. Both young men have requested leave of the new King to return to their former lifestyles, in France and Wittenberg respectively. Status would suggest Hamlet’s bid should be addressed first but Claudius skips him and offers generous and expansive permission to Laertes to let “time be thine and they best graces, spend it at thy will” (Act 1, Scene 2). Such largesse is then buried as he forcefully insists Hamlet remain “here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye” (Act 1, Scene 2). When we next meet Laertes, the fateful opposition between the two men deepens. From his perspective on the nature of men’s sexual appetites, he advises his sister to reject Hamlet’s advances, which he calls a “fashion and a toy in blood” (Act 1, Scene 3). Moments later we hear the same controlling and mistrustful voice from his father, rejecting Ophelia’s desperate claims that Hamlet’s love is of “honourable fashion” (Act 1, Scene 3). Later, it is Ophelia who re-introduces Laertes to the story. In her madness after Polonius’ death, she offers the King and Queen a dangerous premonition – “my brother shall know of it” (Act 4, Scene 5). Almost on cue, Laertes successfully breeches Claudius’ court and with huge popular support has the capacity to achieve outright revolution. Claudius’ diplomatic entreaties barely manage to calm him before Ophelia’s entrance serves to “dry up his brains” (Act 4, Scene 5). Her death stalls Laertes’ wave of revenge and his passion and affection for his sister is movingly portrayed in his attempts to communicate with her, “O rose of May, dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia” (Act 4, Scene 5). At her graveside he achieves a genuine and heroic passion for her, begging to be buried with her. Shakespeare uses Claudius to demonstrate the different capacities for revenge in the play’s two young heroes. Hamlet could not cut a man’s throat in the church. Laertes can do so without hesitation. Hamlet can instinctually recognise when someone is playing games with him. Laertes, consumed by emotional ffury, is easily manipulated by the King to kill Hamlet against his conscience and his natural instinct for honour.
Conclusively, through Hamlet’s soliloquies he effectively conveys the readers, how he strongly criticizes his mother’s marriage to his uncle. Despite his emotions and feelings in regards to this newly bonded relationship is made quite clear, there are many factors as to why these feeling arise. Mainly they are because of the swiftness in which his which his mother went from mourning for his father’s death to being happy married. Frankly, the women of Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet needs guidance in order to achieve his fulfillment. In the other hand, Ophelia seems loyal and obedient to her father Polonius, her brother Laertes and listen to other male characters such as Hamlet who is recognized throughout the play. Thus, Gertrude has a high power considering all the women including men, still fights the struggle between impressing men in order to achieve satisfaction. Lastly, these two female characters play the passive role in the play; and this shows that all women are not measured as equal. Women are tend to be portrayed as foolish, vulnerable, and weak.

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