Similarities Between Ophelia And Gertrude

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Shakespeare’s tragic Hamlet depicts a society ruled by a patriarchal power structure with a strong influence on female norms. Both Ophelia and Queen Gertrude reject their established and internalized norms of the society they live in, creating chaos for both as individuals and society as a whole. Their ability to create such upheaval within their society relates in accordance to the amount of power they each hold within their traditional power structure; in a traditional reading of Hamlet, Ophelia and Gertrude lack such power as persons who find protection within the established system. However, Shakespeare is ultimately sympathetic to the women of the play, depicting their downfalls as a direct result of the men in the play. Ophelia is characterized as the embodiment of cherished femininity in Shakespeare’s Hamlet; she thrives within the protective walls of a system that protects her, yet challenges the power structure through her own agency. In Hamlet’s society, the ideal female is cherished for her youth, beauty, and purity. These qualities are appreciated as internalized social mores in such socialization that creates boundaries to protect Ophelia. She is praised in their society for her compliance, beauty, and purity by even the other female character in the play, Gertrude, when she says, “Ophelia, I do wish that your good beauties be the happy cause of Hamlet’s wildness/ so shall I hope your virtues will bring him to his wonted ways again”, (III.i.39-43). In such a
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