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Female characters in Hamlet. Sandra Krstic. As a result of this, many works in literature were reflective of this kind of role for women. In Shakespeare's Hamlet the women in the play are the primary influence for the actions of many other characters. Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, and Ophelia, Hamlet's love, did affect many of the decisions and actions carried out by Hamlet. This is the woman in desperate need of some resolve.
Claudius, the new king, used the queen, by marrying her, to acquire the throne. I find it improbable that Claudius would kill his brother if he were not reasonably sure that he would be able to marry the queen. For Gertrude to marry Claudius so soon after the death of the King indicates that she was most likely pressured into the arrangement by Claudius and thus reveals her weak will. There is no evidence that Gertrude was previously a stronger woman. Her remarrying again disappoints Hamlet because as he himself says it is incestuous, and because it happened so soon after the death of King Hamlet, on whom she had appeared to dote and depend.
I think she might have married Claudius in part precisely because she felt she needed a man for security and guidance. It can be said that she is morally weak as she clearly does not give much mourning time to King Hamlet before marrying his brother, Claudius.
Gertrude gives no objections to this even though she would know the effect it may have on Ophelia. Claudius commands her and says to her "Come, away" several times in the play, which shows her obedience and her lower status.
She seems to be terribly reliant on the men in her life to keep her status in society however this can be seen as a sign of strength and character as this can be seen as Gertrude using the men around her to keep her status and authority. Gertrude simply does not like exposed to unpleasantness.
Her method of dealing with the problems is just ignoring those things that she does not wish to see. She is a young noblewoman of Denmark, the daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, and sweetheart of Prince Hamlet. In Ophelia's first speaking appearance in the play, we see her with her brother, Laertes, who is leaving for France. He warns her that Hamlet does not have his free will as he is the heir of Denmark so does not have freedom to marry whomever he wants.
Ophelia's father, Polonius, enters while Laertes is leaving, and Polonius also admonishes Ophelia against Hamlet, because he fears Hamlet is not earnest about her. Polonius concludes by forbidding Ophelia to have any further communication with Hamlet. She agrees to obey her father and to avoid Hamlet entirely. By only first scene with her character we can see how she is dependent on men to tell her how to behave and takes their advice even if going against her own heart.
Hamlet also uses Ophelia as a pawn, perhaps more than her family. Hamlet appears to be very distraught, and accuses Ophelia of lying to him and being used by her family. This outburst, however, is used solely to camouflage his real purpose - to have revenge on Claudius, his uncle, for killing his father.
Both her family and Hamlet wish Ophelia to break off her relationship with Hamlet, though for different reasons, but her own feelings dictate her true love for Hamlet. Her brother being far away, she starts to feel lonely and loses her ability to cope with the reality that surrounds her. Her mind becomes more and more filled with dark thoughts.
She turns to living in an imaginary world, filled with fairytales, flowers, and crystal clear water. The last days of her life she spends torn apart between life and death, between dark and light. The death of Ophelia is announced by Queen Gertrude who says that Ophelia had climbed into a willow tree, and then a branch broke and dropped Ophelia into the brook, where she drowned.
The play could not have been developed if Gertrude had not married Hamlet's uncle. That was what gave Hamlet a motive for killing Claudius. The play would not have been as effective if there had been no consequence to Hamlet's actions in killing Polonius. Hamlet's loss of Ophelia indirectly was a result of his own actions.
The role of women in this play may appear small but the undertones of the play tell us that without these two women the play would not have been the same thrilling revenge tragedy as it is today.
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Književnost i srpski jezik : priručnik za učenike gimnazije i srednjih stručnih škola
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Književnost i srpski jezik (#3)
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Književnost i srpski jezik (#2)
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