Even those who have never read the complete play or seen a performance now a few lines of “To be or not to be” and recognize the image of a young man contemplating the skull of his dead friend. ” (Mascara xi). This Shakespearean play depicted tragedy and revenge. Hamlet, the son Of King Hamlet, avenged for the death of his father. The plot basically revolved around Hamlet’s plan to kill Claudia, whom he believed to have murdered his father. Shakespeare did a little twist in this part. It happened that Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, married Claudia who then became king in place of king Hamlet.
Claudia was the brother of King Hamlet. There is now an angle of Levitate marriage in this part (which we will discuss later). As the plot progressed, Hamlet unintentionally killed Polonium, who was hiding while Hamlet was talking with his mother. Hamlet thought that the person hiding behind the curtains was Claudia, whom he really wanted to kill, so he stabbed him unhesitatingly. Polonium is the father of another woman character, Aphelia, with whom Hamlet fell in love with. In the end, Gertrude died of poison when she drank from the cup which was intended to kill Claudia.
The world’s most prominent dramatist and poet, William Shakespeare, was the creator of many famous plays. He was widely regarded as the greatest writer of the English language. As a poet, Shakespeare wrote a total of 154 sonnets as well as a variety of other poems. As a playwright, he produced a total of 38 plays. His works, which are believed to have been produced in between 1586 and 1612, were mostly about romance and tragedy. He was believed to be the most-quoted writer in the literature. His plays have been translated to many different languages.
And up to this moment, Shakespearean works are still performed every. Inhere. In this play, Shakespeare included two major women characters, Gertrude and Aphelia. These characters are considered important because they played very specific roles in the play which made it interesting. This paper will try to trace the reasons behind the women characters’ behavior. In this paper, we will find out these characters’ strengths and weaknesses and how they contributed in the continuity Of the plot. Based on a feminist’s point of view, this paper will try to analyze the said women character.
A stated earlier, this analysis of Hamlet will focus on the women characters and will therefore use Feminist criticism. In the 1 sass, for the first time since the women’s vote was won, minims again surfaced as an important political force in the Western world (Mom 21). This literary criticism concern itself with stereotypical representations of genders. It is the type of criticism which may study and advocate the rights of women. This kind of study may involve the question; how do men and women differ? It also involves the study of a woman’s repression in a particular fiction.
Feminist Criticism begins in the personal response of women readers to women writers, and in the implicit repudiation of any critical stance which claims to be objective (Kaplan, 37). This type of eroticism involves how women perceive a certain text or a certain work of art. It very much acknowledges the views of women when it comes to appreciation of art such as literary pieces. For this particular fiction, we will study the character of Aphelia and Gertrude. Aphelia is the daughter of Polonium, The Lord Chamberlain of Classis’s court. She is a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet fell in love with.
Aphelia didn’t know how to decide on her own. She obeyed whatever her father and her brother, Alerts, told her. She gave in her fathers orders that she should spy on Hamlet. She tint have a personality of her own; she depended on what the men in her life asked her to do. Her father and brother were her best influences. However, she was the typical maiden who loved the flowers, the songs, and the wonderful things around her. In the end, she died of madness, yet, she still sang of the flowers through her death. Aphelia, as portrayed in Hamlet, depicted the type of woman who is generally weak in nature.
As stated earlier, she did not have a decision of her own. The men around her were her main influences. Whatever the men around her told her, she did, it without any hesitation. She is the type of woman who cannot live without a man. The image or figure of a man in her life is very important. Her life, literally, had no direction without a man. This was strongly given proof by the part where she committed suicide after the death of her father. The father figure was one of her driving forces in life. She was very attached to her father that she did not even try to live without him.
Her brother, on the other hand, was also a great influence to her. She confided to her brother and she also listened to her brother’s dilemmas. In the part where Alerts, her brother, told lectures her bout her involvement with Hamlet, she listened to him intently. Alerts told her to stay away from Hamlet because according to him, Hamlet was not serious on her, so she stayed away. Another scene that would strengthen the fact that she was easily influenced by the men around him was the part where her father asked her to spy on Hamlet.
Even though she was madly in love and involved with Hamlet, she still obeyed her father. This, I think, was not surprising, knowing that it was very typical of her to easily be influenced by the men around her. Hamlet, yet another man in her life, was also a great influence. Aphelia easily believed in Hamlet and eventually fell In love with him. Her involvement with Hamlet, however, became her father’s instrument in spying him. In this part of the analysis, we will focus on another major woman character, Gertrude. As the mother of Hamlet and the former wife of the late King Hamlet, she played a vital role in the story.
However, in the following analysis of the next woman character, other issues such as incest and levitate marriage are involve. Before we proceed with the actual analysis of Gertrude character, it is best to equip ourselves first with the knowledge f the other issues involved. As stated earlier, Gertrude, the mother of Hamlet, was technically married to her brother – in – law, Claudia. This case is considered as Levitate Marriage. This type of marriage happens when a woman marries one of her husband’s brothers after her husband’s death.
This is usually done when the couple did not have children before the husband die. This is done so that the lineage of the dead husband will be continued. As observed in Hamlet, this was done by Gertrude after the death of King Hamlet. She was married to Claudia, the brother of King Hamlet, and so Claudia became king. Another sensitive issue, which can be considered as a taboo, is the incestuous angle between Hamlet and Gertrude. Incest is the sexual activity between close family members who are forbidden by law or custom from marrying. This angle in the play can clearly be associated with Fraud’s Oedipus complex.
This, on the other hand, is concept within Psychoanalytic theory referring to a stage of psychosocial development where a child of either gender regards the parent of the same gender as an adversary, and competitor, for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite gender. These issues obviously involve the character of Gertrude. As observed, she was always involved in all morally unacceptable situations. Her acts, beliefs, and even behavior, can be considered immoral in one aspect or another. Gertrude basically depicted the type of woman who is somewhat immoral.
Her act of marrying her husband’s brother, Claudia, is considered immoral by the church. Gertrude was one of Shakespearean characters who have caused conflicts in the play. Probably, the best question that could be raised with regards to Gertrude character is: Was she involved with Claudia even before her husband died? Learning how immoral Gertrude can be, it is to far from reality that she probably was already involved with Claudia even before her husband’s death. And who knows, she might probably know Claudia’ plan of killing King Hamlet.
Gertrude is clearly a woman struggling to pursue her desire of position and affection, as well as her tendency to use men to fulfill her instinct of self preservation. This, however, made her a little like Aphelia who depended upon the men in her life. Gertrude always chooses safe decisions. She chose to marry Claudia because that would make everything easier. Wholly, her character can be summed up as a woman who solely relies on men. As a mother to Hamlet, their relationship can greatly be considered as dysfunctional. Her son didn’t believe in her. She decided on her own without her son’s approval.
The strongest incestuous desires depicted in this play arise in the relationship of Hamlet and Gertrude, an interesting angle in this relationship is the fact that Hamlet was said to have fallen in love with her mother. This was given proof by Hamlet’s fixation on Gertrude?s sexual life with Claudia and his preoccupation with her in general. Another incestuous angle was actually depicted by Aphelia and Alerts. Their relationship was actually not merely a brother-sister allegations. As we have learned from the synopsis of the play, Aphelia was very close with his brother to the point that he listened to every word he said.
He obeyed him all throughout the play. There was even an incident when Alerts asked Aphelia to stay away from Hamlet. This obviously was because of jealousy. Probably, the strongest proof that would strengthen this argument about incestuous desire be;en Aphelia and Alerts was depicted during Aphelion’s funeral. In her funeral, there was an incident where Alerts leaps into her grave just to hold her arm. This incestuous desire could to have had straighten between then if Aphelia did not reciprocate Alerts’ behavior towards her.
In line with these immoral acts entertained by the major women character, another major issue then arises. The motif of misogyny Or hatred of Women was depicted by the character Of Hamlet. Because of certain circumstances which occurred involving the women in his life, Hamlet then establishes misogyny. He was so shattered by his mothers decision to marry Claudia so soon after her husband’s death; he then becomes cynical about women in general. He then shows particular obsession with what he perceives to be a connection between female equality and moral corruption.
The portrayal of the women characters in Hamlet enlightened our minds about how cruel and immoral women can be. Through this analysis, we found out that some women cannot actually live their lives without men. These men sometimes serve as their driving forces. These men lead them and instruct them to do whatever they want. And because of the fact that some women are weak, they easily follow what the men tell them. This major characteristic of women was greatly depicted by the women characters in Hamlet; Gertrude and Aphelia. Other issues also emerged as the analysis progressed.
The levitate marriage, which was done by Claudia and Gertrude, was one of those. Another was the concept of having incestuous desires. This concept was greatly given proof by the characters of Aphelia and Alerts, and Hamlet and Gertrude. This desire, however, is considered immoral by the majority. But again, these were depicted all throughout the play. The behavior of the women in the play obviously resulted to negative aspects. Probably, the major negative result is Hamlet’s perception towards them. Because of their behavior, Hamlet establishes a dislike for women in general.