Hamlet, By William Shakespeare Essay

1916 WordsDec 17, 20168 Pages
Women are often thought of as weak, powerless, and obedient, yet literary works written throughout time disprove this stereotype. Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is one such example. Hamlet follows the journey of Prince Hamlet of Denmark as he seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius who marries his mother, Gertrude, and becomes king. Though Hamlet spends most of the play delaying executing his revenge, he succeeds in killing Claudius, and the play concludes with the death of most of the characters, including Queen Gertrude, Hamlet’s love interest, Ophelia, and Hamlet himself. In Hamlet, Shakespeare creates the independent, intelligent characters Ophelia and Gertrude, who present themselves as non-archetypal women, symbolizing how women in Elizabethan times assert strong personal agency in the midst of dubious actions with hidden depths and complex relationships. While Ophelia and Gertrude ultimately display their independence obscurely through their actions of suicide --Ophelia deliberately, Gertrude inadvertently-- their characters respectively reflect the female temperaments, including passion, often associated with madness, and calm pragmatism. For example, Gertrude acknowledges the impact, and perhaps injudiciousness, of her “o’erhasty” marriage following the death of King Hamlet, and yet she expresses no depth of remorse; Ophelia, on the other hand, consciously decides to commit suicide by drowning herself as an act of defiance against the male-dominated society. After becoming

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