Gender Discourse In Shakespeare's Hamlet

Decent Essays

William Shakespeare's subjective composition of plays portray his perspective on the world around him, mirroring the concerns of the Elizabethan times. Shakespeare masterfully explores the notion Gender through his play Hamlet, presenting the human essence and normality of the era. Gender discourse presented throughout Hamlet, is utilized to engender the essential main female characters particularly Gertrude. Throughout Hamlet, a certain control patronizes over Gertrude portraying her as dependant and immoral through the views of her son Hamlet, allowing him to have more ascendency over her. Shakespeare’s representation of Gertrude coincides with the affiliation of women within the Elizabethan time period however, would be challenged by today’s …show more content…

Hamlet’s power condescends over Gertrude within Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, allowing him to have more ascendency. Shakespeare, by gender discourse depicts Gertrude, a leading woman, as reliant and reflects Hamlets actions towards his mother in the nature of this statement. In Act III Gertrude approaches Hamlet and in the duration of them talking she asks "What shall I do?" (lll, iv, 182) As a queen- a symbol of royalty and power Shakespeare conjures the notion that even powerful women need help, as Gertrude seeks directions from her son. In the construction of Hamlet being put in this placement of ascendency above his mother, the Queen; Shakespeare challenges authority by using gender discourse to depict instead a helpless woman in submission to the direction of her son. Portraying women as dependant of men and self- doubting, submitting to the notion of a man’s ruling, mirrors the attitudes presented in the duration of the Elizabethan era. Shakespeare reinforces the notion the women need conformation from men and are typically dependent upon any views of a male. Hamlet presents a large female role in affiliation with the ruling of a woman, Queen Elizabeth. Gertrude however, does not seem to have the same effect on her subjects as Elizabeth did in England. Instead Shakespeare focuses more on the key gender discourse of the Elizabethan times having a mainly patriarchal …show more content…

Shakespeare presents Hamlets continuous comments towards his mother to present women of the play to be immoral; constructing Gertrude’s actions as the primary reasoning for Hamlet to believe that women in general society are immoral. Hamlet does not refer to his mother’s physical capability; instead “frailty, thy name is woman” (I.ii. 146) is used to comment on her moral state. Shakespeare positions his audience by this statement to recognise Gertrude, being the epitome of all immoral behaviour in her frailness as a woman. In the construction that she is morally frail, Shakespeare generates an image that she can be taken in and manipulated by a patriarchal society for which she has no saying about; again Shakespeare generates the notion women of hamlet are immoral. In act 3 scene 4 Hamlet comes to his mother, where she wishes to speak with him however, hamlet goes on to speak of her immoral behaviour saying “You go not till I set you up a glass where you may see the inmost part of you” (iii.iv.19-20). Referring to the choice to marry Claudius; remarking his hatred towards the belief of Gertrude’s immoral standards. Once again, this reflects upon the condescending empowerment to comment on the immorality of a woman, that men in Hamlet do. The Elizabethan era presents a time where it was highly immoral for women to take part in any promiscuous behaviour such as the May Day

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