Shakespeare 's Hamlet And The Changeling

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The role of women is a crucial theme in both Hamlet and The Changeling; the audiences are presented with female characters responding to chaotic turbulence in Hamlet’s family, the court of Denmark, Alicante’s household and the asylum. In Hamlet, the female characters, Gertrude and Ophelia, are women that are considered frail and weak-minded by the men in their lives and critics often suggest that they aren’t fully developed. Jade Dawn Castillo writes that “female characters are underdeveloped and often only serve as a catalyst for the plot.” Certainly a key role of both Ophelia and Gertrude is to shed light on male characters, however, the female characters are psychologically credible and the overarching message seems to be that women must know their place, learn to obey. In contrast, the Changeling explores the realms feminine power, as well as weakness. The women’s behaviour and attitude towards their social status, in the two plays is, strikingly different at times. Whereas Shakespeare only illustrates the destructive, deadly consequences when a woman challenges her position in society, Middleton and Rowley also demonstrate how female strength and integrity can be rewarded.
In both plays the audience are presented with female characters that are expected to be submissive and passive by men. Ophelia seems to embody obedience, even dependence. Ophelia is completely dependent on her father and proves her loyalty and unwavering dependence when she agrees to stay away from

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