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19-02-2012, 18:30   #1
Incompetent
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When discussing the role of women in Hamlet...

..What do you talk about and learn? Sure I have notes on the descriptions of Gertrude and Ophelia, but I see people saying to learn about the role and I've no idea what to do. I understand they're affected by the actions of men, that women back then didn't have much status, and that they're passive in the play.. But that's hardly an essays worth. Any help would be great, my mock's on tuesday! (And no, I don't want to look..)
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19-02-2012, 23:03   #2
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I was just doing a sample essay on the role of women! I basically made a point that they are manipulated by men a lot of the time, they are passive characters and so on. If you are stuck for words, give plenty of examples on where in the play they are used by men (Claudius & Polonius hiding behind the arras and using Ophelia to spy and maybe to control Hamlet for example) and give your personal opinion to it.
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19-02-2012, 23:20   #3
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Originally Posted by subz3r0 View Post
I was just doing a sample essay on the role of women! I basically made a point that they are manipulated by men a lot of the time, they are passive characters and so on. If you are stuck for words, give plenty of examples on where in the play they are used by men (Claudius & Polonius hiding behind the arras and using Ophelia to spy and maybe to control Hamlet for example) and give your personal opinion to it.
Thanks. It seems I have the main points, I just can't flesh it out into a whole essay! I'll have to find some quotes to expand my 3 sentences
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20-02-2012, 19:58   #4
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Some quotes of the top of my head:

Hamlet calls Gertrude 'most pernicous woman' (Basically she is a cow, morally blind to the corruption in Denmark)

''These words like daggers enter in mine ears'' Is what she says when Hamlet challenges her to consider her betrayal and hasty marriage (If you watched any of the movies... its the scene where he gets very... sexual)

''Get thee to a nunnery'' Not a joke, this is a good quote to explain how Hamlet pushes around Ophelia (it implies she has a wicked soul that needs purifying which would come as a shock to the innocent Ophelia)
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21-02-2012, 16:56   #5
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I make the point that women are a vessel for Hamlet's emotions and act as a catalyst for many of the events in the play, though I may be going too indepth with that theory.
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21-02-2012, 19:20   #6
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I make the point that women are a vessel for Hamlet's emotions and act as a catalyst for many of the events in the play, though I may be going too indepth with that theory.
Interesting, but I disagree. The women play a passive role. They are involved in major events but rarely influence them.

I think Polonius, or more specifically deception, were catalysts in the play. Hamlet spends the majority without acting until he accidentally and impulsively kills Polonius which triggers Ophelia's madness as well as Laertes pursuit for revenge (The final act, the swordfight). Polonius was only behind the damn curtain because of his obsession with deception (his spying games).

Oh and it also makes Claudius more paranoid, since he is aware that Hamlet stabbed the curtain thinking that it was him behind it.
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21-02-2012, 22:06   #7
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Interesting, but I disagree. The women play a passive role. They are involved in major events but rarely influence them.

I think Polonius, or more specifically deception, were catalysts in the play. Hamlet spends the majority without acting until he accidentally and impulsively kills Polonius which triggers Ophelia's madness as well as Laertes pursuit for revenge (The final act, the swordfight). Polonius was only behind the damn curtain because of his obsession with deception (his spying games).

Oh and it also makes Claudius more paranoid, since he is aware that Hamlet stabbed the curtain thinking that it was him behind it.
I'm not saying women are the only or main catalysts, just that they do to some extent have that role. For instance Claudius' killing of old Hamlet was partially because he wanted Gertrude. Ophelia in some sense acts as a catalyst for much of the spying in the play. Also, Hamlet's dissatisfaction with women has a huge influence on his mood and behaviour throughout the play.

I would also argue that women serve a figurative role in the play, and they represent deception and betrayal. "God hath given you one face and you give yourselves another" or whatever that quote is.

Oh also look at women in the context of their relationships with men - the corrupting effect of sexual desire on people, for instance, one of Claudius' reasons for killing Hamlet's father was Gertrude, and Hamlet condemns Gertrude for, as he perceives it, her betrayal of his father due to sexual desire. "incestuous sheets" etc.
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21-02-2012, 22:41   #8
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Makes no odds which line you take really, as long as you can back it up with quotes, or references to the plot.
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