Feminism in Hamlet

1451 WordsSep 14, 20086 Pages
“Feminist Criticism and Its Integration in Hamlet” In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, many controversies arose from the text, one of which was feminism. Feminism in the most general of terms is known as the principle advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men. Feminism was a largely debated issue in the context of eighteenth century literature specific to many of Shakespeare’s texts. Feminist Criticism is similar in content but is more specific and pertains to the “lens” through which a text is viewed or perceived. During the era of Shakespeare’s existence, many of his female characters and the plots surrounding them were considered antifeminist due to the role that the women played or…show more content…
Hamlet attempts a ‘self cure’ to deal with his mental instability. He uses his control over the written word to empower himself in emotionally disturbing situations, examples of which include the letters to Ophelia, his forged orders to England, and his rewriting of The Murder of Gonzago”. Yet at the hands of a similar insanity, Ophelia “does not have the same means for elaborating a delirium as a man. She possesses very limited access to any verbal communication with which to unpack her heart before her father’s death”. After his passing, Ophelia is confronted with an opportunity to express herself in a similar way to Hamlet through her songs. These songs are in the same style as Hamlet’s variation of ‘The Mouse Trap’. In the context of other renaissance women dealing with similar touches of insanity, “Ophelia’s experience of trying to find a voice in the play seems a model for the difficulties facing renaissance women” characters and writers alike. (Findlay, Alison). When it comes to Gertrude and her son Hamlet, the feminist lens gets clouded because he both treats her as a true being with thoughts/opinions and yet is constantly demoralizing her for her actions. In Act III, Hamlet is confronting Gertrude about her mistakes with Claudius. Hamlet goes on to desexualize his mother and even goes as far as calling her a whore in a subtle way. In an attempt to force her into

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