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Hamlet - Essay Example

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Each of these women seem to operate within the 16th century conception of the ‘ideal’ female in that they quietly and obediently follow the wishes of their respective male…
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Hamlet Essay
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Download file to see previous pages... They are given few options in the expression of their own emotions and their sentiments have little to no bearing upon the decisions made for them. While Ophelia seems to be innocent of the events occurring to those around her, Queen Gertrude seems to be more on the inside of the plotting and scheming occurring within the castle. Thus, both Ophelia and Gertrude appear as little more than the ‘puppet figures’ throughout much of the play, each playing vital roles in the development of the plot at differing levels of involvement.
Seizing upon any tool they can lay their hands on, the King and Polonius readily employ Ophelia as a weapon for their own purposes. At the beginning of the play, she is told by her father in no uncertain terms, to go against her heart and spurn all communication with Hamlet despite the close proximity in which they live: “I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, / Have you so slander any moment leisure / As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. / Look to’t, I charge you” (I, iii, 132-135). While this directive can be seen as the natural reaction of a father in working to guard the chastity, or sexual purity, of his daughter, it can also be seen as a wily of an ambitious parent attempting to both protect the assets of the family as well as provide a more alluring bait to the ultimate prize of marrying the prince. This interpretation is supported in the almost over-humble way in which he approaches the King and Queen with his theory regarding the cause of Hamlet’s madness, reciting the degeneration of the prince since Ophelia had stopped receiving his messages: “And he, repelled, a short tale to make, / Fell into a sadness, then into a fast, / Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness, / Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension, / Into the madness wherein now he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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