In Shakespeares play, Hamlet there are two main women characters (Ophelia- who ends up mad, and Gertrude- who ends up dead). is it simply a coincidence that these women, the only women in the play end up letting themselves bew, and are continually manipulate, controlled, and taked advantage of by the male characters in teh play? is it truly coincidentalkt htat when ophilia’s love- hamlet- is taken away from her that she goes amd, and when Gertrude is suddenly without a husband, she marries hsi brother? These things asre not coincidence. They were done purposefully, now the questions is why>?
Why did Shakespeare choose to portray the women in his play Hamlet like this, and why did he have the other characters in the play relate o them as frail, weka, and even as letter humans? the truth is that every writer, when writing will capture a bit- no matter how small- of themselves in their work. there work will be a reflectionf of their perspectives, of their opinions, and of them.
This comes as no surprise, because if you aren’t going to write your own ideas, what is the significance of writing at all? Shakespeare- for whatever reason’s- thinks of women as how they are portrayed ih his plays. considers them weak, frail, un-able to function for themselves without the help of a man, and less deserving of the prosperities that it means to be human.
This is obviously shown when Hamloet shows his own disdain for woman kind by saying, “fragility,m thy name is woman (p. 29)! ” in those five words, hamlet basically sums it up. ?he pulls together all the feelings bout women that indirectly stated and shown throughout thebook. he is sayint that to e a boman that the very essence of a woman,m is one who is frail, one who is weak. w Shakespeare must have at least some feelings towards women that agree with that statement, if he is going to put somehting so strongly stating that point into his play .
Later on in the play Shakespeare again clearly shows his views of women when hae has Hamlet say to Op[helia, “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder opf sinners (p. 130)? ” Here hamlet is tellling Ophelia that he never loved her, and that she should go to a nunnery, rather than marry and pass her genes on to children who would end up “sinners.
Here Hamlet is sayint that when children are born and they are sinners, it’s the mother’s fault. Healso makes this clear when he says a line later, “I am myself indifferent honest,m but yet i could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me (p. 130). ” in both of these quotes, it is obvcious that Shakespeare thinks that since it is the woman who bears the child, if the child is a sinner, or a bad person, it is because of the mother, and it is actually the mother who has sinned.
These aquotes, Shakespeare is basically just putting his onw words and thoughts into hamlet’s mouth, because these views of women keep comming up throughout the play. Not only in Hamlet do Shakespeare’s views of women show through, but also in many of his other plays. Take The Taming of the Shrew for instance. First of all just the name. the play is about a man (Petruchio) who wants to marry this woman (Katherina), not because he loves her, but because he wants a wife, and he also wants her moneyu (she is rich).
The only thing is, that this woman is a strong willed woman, who will speak her mind. the plot of the play, is that Petruchio needs to “tame” Hatherina, because there is “obviously something wrong with her” if she is goign to actually speak her mind, e strong, and be a woman of all things. Although the play is a comedy, it says something not so comedic about Shakespeare, if he is goign to put a strong woman in his play,m and then make it out that ther eis something wrong with her, that she is a “shrew”, and that she does need to be tamed.
There are others who feel that Shakespeare was making a statemet=nt when he wrome The Taming of the Shrew, because even before the play begins, there is a section entitled “War of the SExes” which attempts to apologize for Shakespeare’s “attutude towards women. ” It even says that in this section, “petruchios treatment towards katherina is harsh and brutal (p. vii). ” And taht, “Protagonists of women’ts righrts have taken Shakespeare to task for his vacalier disregard of eleementary justice to womean and his own apparent approval of Petruchio’s conduct (p. vii). ”
Here Shakespeares view on women is stated clearly. writes a play about a woman needing to be tamed by her husban, because she is strong willed, and not afraid to speak her mind. he writes about her husband treating her brutally and even seems to support how POetruchio treats Katherina, s if he sagrees that a woman who is anything ut quiet, getnle fragile and weak, needs to be tamed, and taught to act “normal. ” It is obvioujs how Shakespeare feels agbout women, because not only do his views that women are not equal to men, are fragile, and are weak, shine through in hamlet, but also in another of his plays, the taming of the shrew.
One of Shakespeares great gifts was that he was incredibly smart, a gbenious even. But at times even this gift of his worked against him. In the beginning of hamlet before the play even begins there is a brief summery of what is known of shakespeares past. At one point it said that “Shakesperaew wan and uneducated genious (T. W. Baldwin pg. 333). ” What this means, is that shakespeare had a brilliant miund, wasn ub believable smart, and could think on a very deep level but that he wasnt highle educated.
An d lastly there is also the common fact that all writers, no matter how hard they try not to, capture a piece of themselves int heir work. With all these things leanig towards shakpeseare viewing women inadequately, it is pretty clear that he does. Since facts about shakespeare’s past are pretty foggy, we may never know ehy. It could hvae been his expoeriences with women, or how society treated and thought of womean at that time. The point is, that no matter what caused him to feel that way, Shakespeare did think of women as weak, and fragile, and this clearly showed in his work.