Gender Inequality In Hamlet

Words: 1083
Pages: 5

“Frailty thy name is woman.” (I.ii.146) There is no doubt in the presence of the motif, women’s weakness in Hamlet. Consequently, the weakness of Gertrude and Ophelia evinces through the influence of the men’s decisions along with, power on their actions and fates. The motif demonstrates the frailty of women in the play through the illustration of gender inequality, as Shakespeare characterizes the two leading women as weak-minded, submissive, as well as, tools of manipulation for the men. Throughout Act I, the motif of women’s weakness develops in the wake of Hamlet’s grief for his late father as well as, his grief towards his mother’s abrupt marriage to his uncle.
Frailty, thy name is woman! -
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body,
Like Niobe, all tears - why she, even she-
Would have mourned longer - married with my uncle; (I.ii.145-146)
By means of the quote, Hamlet portrays Gertrude as morally weak, due to the betrayal of her late husband with the marriage to his brother. Gertrude places her emotions above moral righteousness and
…show more content…
Ophelia is submissive to her father as seen in the quote, “At such time I’ll loose my daughter to him. Be you and I behind an arras then,” (II.i.161-163.) Polonius intends to use his daughter as bait in order to prove that Hamlet’s madness derived from love. As a result, she is an asset to Polonius. With the use of Ophelia as a tool, Shakespeare expands the theme of frailty of women through the display of Ophelia as completely compliant to her father’s requests. Moreover, as Ophelia continually subjects to her father’s decisions, her frailty as a woman shines through. The theme develops as the gender inequality projects through Shakespeare’s portrayal of Ophelia as weak, submissive, as well as, a tool of