For many years in the past women played a small role socially, economically, and politically. As a result of this many works in literature were reflective of this diminutive role of women. In Elizabethan theatres small boys dressed and played the roles of women. In contrast to this trend, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet the women in the play are driving factors for the actions of many other characters. Both Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and Ophelia, Hamlet’s love, affected many of the decisions and actions done by Hamlet.
Gertrude influenced Hamlet significantly throughout the course of the play. Hamlet was very angered by his mother’s remarriage. A few months after his father’s death, Gertrude married Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle. He was driven mad when his father’s ghost appeared to him and revealed that Claudius was responsible for the death of Old Hamlet. Hamlet even termed the marriage as incest. Hamlet’s fury is displayed when he throws his mother on the bed and says, “Frailty, thy name is woman” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). This shows his extent of anger because he makes a generalization that all women are weak. As a result of his mother’s actions, Hamlet strives to seek revenge against Claudius for the death of his father. In order to marry Gertrude, Claudius kills his brother. Therefore, Gertrude is the driving factor for the whole setup of the play.
Another significant female character is Ophelia, Hamlet’s love. Hamlet’s quest for revenge interferes with his relationship with Ophelia. There is much evidence to show that Hamlet loved her a great deal, but his pretense of madness drove her to her death. Ophelia drowned not knowing what was happening to her. This can be deduced by the fact that she flowed down the river singing and happy when in truth she was heartbroken. Ophelia was very much afraid when she saw Hamlet “with his doublet all unbraced; No hat upon his head; his stockings foul’d, Ungarter’d, and down-gyved to his ancle” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). She described him as being “loosed out of hell” (Act #. Scene #. Line #). In addition to that he scared her when he left the room with his eyes still fixed on her. She is especially hurt when Hamlet tells her that he no longer loves her and that he is opposed to marriage. He advises her to go to a nunnery and avoid marriage if she can.
Free Hamlet Essays: Hamlet Father and Son
Hamlet: Comparing Father and Son
The play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet was a man that looked up to his father throughout his life, during and after his father’s death. The younger Hamlet tried to follow in his father’s footsteps, but as much as they were alike, they were very much different. The man named Hamlet had a son named Hamlet and after everything was over, that is one of the few things that they had in common. King Hamlet and Hamlet compare in that they are both upset by the Queen’s marriage, they both hate Claudius, they are both brave, and they are both dead by the end of the play. They contrast in that while Hamlet’s father was king, Hamlet will never have the kingship, Hamlet does not leave a legacy and they die differently.
Hamlet looked up to his father because he felt that he was a great leader and the bravest man that he knew, as Hamlet mentioned, “so excellent a king” (I. ii.149). He wanted to be so much like him, but couldn’t because of a couple of barriers that he had to deal with. He became a lot like his father in the end.
Hamlet was very disappointed with his life because he knew that becoming king was one thing that he didn’t have in common with his father, because his stepfather was king, “married with my uncle, my father’s brother” (I. ii. 151-2). Hamlet was very upset by his mother’s marriage, and as he learns later, his father was as well, “It is not nor it cannot come to good: But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue” (I. ii. 157-8). The ghost of Hamlet’s father advises his own opinion, “Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest” (I. v. 82-3).
They both shared the hatred towards Claudius, the King and the wife of Hamlet’s mother and his father’s widow. Hamlet expresses his hatred in I. v. 106, 108-9, “O villain, villain…That one may smile…and be a villain; At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.” The ghost gives his hatred in I. v. 38-9, 42, “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast.”
Hamlet does become as brave as his father when he kills the king, his stepfather, when the plot of the king to kill Hamlet goes wrong, and the Queen drinks the poisoned drink herself.