Misogyny, Thy Name is Hamlet: Women in Hamlet
A statistician would balk at the idea of analyzing women in Hamlet: as there are only two members of the fairer sex in the entire cast, surely any observations drawn are unreliable. However, when approaching Hamlet, it is best to remember that numbers and statistics can never fully explain the motives of people who are driven more by emotion than by logic. In Hamlet, both women are remarkably weak characters. They show very limited character growth (if any), and seem to exist for the sole purpose of serving as a backdrop for the strength and masculinity of the rest of the cast. A closer read, however, lends more value to these helpless women. On one level, they are still being used as tools of comparison: it is through Hamlet’s interactions with the women in his life that the audience understands that there is a disparity between what Hamlet perceives and what a sound person sees (in addition to the layers of deception that the average person legitimately sees). Additionally, with the entirety of his female cast positioned as damsels in distress (when Shakespeare has clearly created stronger females in other plays), he makes a statement on the danger of weakness.
This is a play of manipulation. When Hamlet's mother asks why...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 1126 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 8645 literature essays, 2331 sample college application essays, 378 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in