Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women Essay

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As Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the fiction was set in the Renaissance era and therefore the persona of women was reflective of that period. The natural stereotype of that time viewed women as weak, fickle, and dependent of the men in their society and subject to the decisions that men make for them. It was an exceedingly common depiction and very rarely was it proven wrong to the men of that time. Women’s rights were nonexistent in this time period so it wasn’t unusual for the portrayal of women to be so negative and offensive. Given that women of that age had known nothing else they attempted to fit the stereotype to please the ‘natural order’.
The role women played in Hamlet was complicated. Their distinct purpose as characters in the
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In Gertrude’s decision she proves that she is willing to go against society to obtain her perfect life.
Gertrude’s solution to the problems of her life is to lie. She lies to herself about the consequences of her actions, and she lies to those around her. The purpose of her deceitfulness is to protect. Her lies are not cruel they are considered white lies that she feels she must commit to, to keep her and those around her physically and emotionally safe. On the surface it is complicated to comprehend why Hamlet, his father, and Claudius all have such a deep devotion for Gertrude but the qualities that save her and Claudius from condemnation are subtly woven among the plot of the tragedy. She loves Hamlet and beneath her shallow exterior, shows great emotion when he confronts her. Gertrude honestly doesn’t realize why Hamlet is so furious with her until he reveals the truth and only then does she realize the injustice of her actions. “O speak to me no more. These words like daggers enter my ears. No more, sweet Hamlet.”(pg 95, line 94-96) There is no reason for it to be believed that Gertrude is lying to appease Hamlet. In the play this is the only time when she is portrayed in a cunning manner. Even though Hamlet lashes out with extreme rage she still remains faithful to him, protecting him from the king. And, although her love for Claudius is considered wrong by
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