Hamlet Character Analysis

Decent Essays

When one reads William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it is easy to overlook the female characters as powerless and subservient. However, things are not always what they seem at first glance, as a further analysis of Gertrude and Ophelia suggests. Although the plot centers around Hamlet’s quest for revenge, these two female characters have a profound influence on what transpires. These women certainly play more significant roles than they seem at first.
In Act I, Gertrude appears to be an unfaithful wife who is detached from her son. Despite her husband’s death, she quickly remarries and feels no qualms doing so. Moreover, while her husband’s death takes a toll on Hamlet, she fails to console him. Instead, she tries to make his death seem …show more content…

As she dies, she tells Hamlet, “O, my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poisoned” (V.ii.340-341). Instead of following her husband’s plan, she makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her son. Without her heroics, Hamlet would be dead, and Claudius would remain king and be victorious, but she felt the need for redemption. Besides, not only does she contribute to the storyline but also to the reader’s analysis. She is indeed a complex character and raises numerous questions, such as whether or not she knew about Claudius killing her husband. Outstanding characters like Gertrude affect the plot in a significant way and supply the reader with critical thinking questions.
On the other hand, Ophelia appears to be obedient and submissive. In fact, she seems to be exceedingly deferential, as she obeys everything Laertes and Polonius say. For example, when Polonius orders her to stay away from Hamlet and ignore his love vows, she replies, “I shall obey, my lord” (I.iv.124-145). Furthermore, she refers to her father as “my lord,” which implies Polonius has her on a leash (I.iv.145). Perhaps this line also means that she has no free will and thinks in the interests of her father instead of for herself. It is difficult for a reader to contemplate how a subordinate like Ophelia could have a critical role later in the play. Nevertheless, another prominent female character comes off as

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