Women 's Tragedy : Hamlet And King Lear

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Tinsley Anderson Dr. Pitchford ENGL 4037 24 November 2015 Women in Shakespeare’s Tragedies: Hamlet and King Lear While William Shakespeare’s Tragedies are well known for their violence, tragic heroes, and fatal flaws, the method in which Shakespeare portrays his female characters in a negative light is seldom expressed. The women of Shakespeare’s Tragedies are represented unfavorably, no matter if they are virtuous or evil. “Shakespeare’s plays are not lacking in women with positive human qualities, and some of them are presented with qualities and attributes at par with men, but on the whole these texts disseminate and project the historical and conventional perception of women, as lesser and negative stereotype, and portray them from the patriarchal perspective” (Jajja 228). While William Shakespeare made the primary protagonists of his tragedies male, the female characters hold assertive supporting roles and often control the actions of the play. (Kunool 1). This paper will focus on the roles of female characters in two of Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Hamlet and King Lear, specifically on the male patriarchal perspective and its control over the female characters. The most obvious instance of dominating patriarchy in William Shakespeare’s Tragedies can be found in his play, Hamlet. There are only two female characters in this play, Ophelia and Queen Gertrude. Ophelia is considered a virtuous woman who obeys her father and brother’s every word, even at the expense of her
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