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Role of women in hamlet

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The Role of Women in Hamlet We live in a society where women have rights that were unheard of centuries ago. These rights include the right to driving freely, having jobs rather than staying at home, and being treated with the same respect as men in the workplace. But in Shakespeare's play Hamlet women have a role that is mainly passive in that the men in Hamlet hold a higher position than women and are treated in a manner that would be labelled as misogyny today in that women are only seen as objects rather than human. In Hamlet there are only two women who have a significant role in the play: Gertrude and Ophelia. Gertrude role in Hamlet is one that is a loving mother that does care for her son but also raises her selfish ambition above everyone else and tries to reconfigure her family around her new husband Claudius. Ophelia role in Hamlet consists of being one-dimensional and stagnant, that soon crumbles after the death of her father due to her frailty and innocence. During the first scene of book, Hamlet recalls scene between his mother and father and the love and affection they possessed before his father passed away. ...read more.


Polonius easily manipulate Ophelia and convinces her to not see and be with Hamlet and which she quickly obeys in Line 136 "I shall obey my lord,"which clearly shows Polonius control over Ophelia and her weakness. This quote could also refer to the weakness in Gertrude in that she betrayed her deceased husband and married his brother which at the time was considered incestuous. Throughout the play Shakespeare paints both Gertrude and Ophelia as tools to the male characters in the play rather than individuals. Ophelia was manipulated many times in the play in order to benefit her father Polonius and King Claudius. Polonius asks her to spy on Hamlet while he and Claudius stand idly behind carefully listening to their conversation. One must question why Ophelia would even go along with such a plan since she does love Hamlet. Polonius was able to easily manipulate her to do as he says without any argument. It really shows the state of women at the time since they really didn't have any say and were easily manipulated by the men around them. Ophelia was also manipulated by her lover Hamlet. During Act 3, Scene 1, Ophelia visits Hamlet to return his letters and other pledges of affection for her due to the pressures from her father. ...read more.


Another sign of Shakespeare painting women to be tools of the male characters in the play is when Gertrude betrays Hamlet by telling Claudius that Hamlet killed Polonius and made her swear not to tell Claudius or anyone else. This is clear proof of how men controlled women in the play since Gertrude was able to simply betray her own son to a man that isn't even Hamlet's father. Both Ophelia and Gertrude play positions typical of women at the time: easily manipulated to the point where women become tools for men and tend to be weak in character. Characters made by Shakespeare like Lady Macbeth, Goneril and Regan all represent women who are tough and brute with their wishes and don't wait idly by the male characters in their respective plays. These women represent women in idealistic society- women that can adapt to the image of women today. In Hamlet, Shakespeare represents the only female characters in the play: Gertrude and Ophelia as women who were easily manipulated by males and more typical during the time the play was written. Both Ophelia and Gertrude were weak characters who were totally obedient to the males in the play with Ophelia being totally controlled by her father and Gertrude being manipulated by her husband, Claudius. ...read more.

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Response to the question

Overall, this essay is a fairly average example of the type of work produced at this level of qualification, the candidate has appropriately used quotations and analysed the play but there is room for improvement. To start with, this essay ...

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Response to the question

Overall, this essay is a fairly average example of the type of work produced at this level of qualification, the candidate has appropriately used quotations and analysed the play but there is room for improvement. To start with, this essay doesn’t have a proper introductory paragraph, it is important to write an introduction as this sets the tone for the whole of your essay. A good introduction engages the reader, introduces your topic and clearly states what you plan to discuss. You can engage the reader by discussing relevant background information, for example, the first few sentences of the candidates opening paragraph discusses the role of women, this is interesting and helps to catch the readers attention, therefore the reader is more likely to read the whole of your essay.

Level of analysis

The candidates discussion of the play shows a reasonably good level of analysis, rather than simply retelling the story, they have picked out key scenes and they have used quotations from the play to discuss the characters thoughts and feelings. However, the candidate could have improved their analysis by taking the time to do some research, this allows you to develop your discussion, with this essay it would appropriate to discuss the way in which women were viewed and treated during the time that the play was written. This additional information can make your essay more interesting to read and shows that you are capable of learning independently. On a further note, this essay does not end with a clear conclusion, which is a mistake. It is important that you take the time to write a conclusion, this is your chance to leave the reader with a good impression of your work. Your conclusion should summarise key points from your essay with reference to why these are important as this helps to tie together any loose ends. You also need to write a personal response to the play and make sure that you refer back to the essay title so that you can draw the essay to a close.

Quality of writing

The layout of this essay could be improved, it is not necessary to start a new paragraph for a quotation, when you break up paragraphs to do this it can make your essay fell a little bit jumpy, which is not ideal. To add to this, it is often not necessary to copy out the whole quote as the candidate has done, you just need to state the parts that are relevant to what you are discussing. On another note, the candidate has not mentioned Shakespeare's use of linguistic techniques and how these add to the play, for example metaphors can help to stimulate a persons imagination. This is something that you need to discuss in order to achieve a higher grade. However, on a more positive note, there are no errors with grammar, punctuation or spelling.

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Reviewed by pictureperfect 09/08/2012

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