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The woman characters in Hamlet  a vital role in the tragedy, Hamlet. Here we find the two important female characters.They are Gertrude and Ophelia. In his first soliloquy, Hamlet remarks that "Frailty-thy name is woman". He means to say that woman is an embodiment of weakness. She is weak-minded and weak-willed. She has no strength of character. Hamlet finds frailty in the character of his mother, Gertrude. He sees how this woman accomplices with Claudius to murder her husband. He is also betrayed by Ophelia. He does not get hearty love from her in return.

Gertrude is the Queen of Denmark and wife to King Hamlet. She is the mother of Hamlet. She is portrayed as a living and important character in the tragedy, Hamlet. It is evident that the Queen married a second time. She was false to her husband while he lived. She was certainly not privy to the murder of her husband. Now she is married to Claudius. She has a soft animal nature. She is very dull and very shallow. She loves to be happy. She is pleased to see others' happy. She never saw the drunkenness of her husband as disgusting till Hamlet told her so. She knew that Hamlet considered her re-marriage over-hasty. But she was untroubled by any shame at the feelings which had led to it. She was fond of Ophelia and was genuinely attached to her son.

Ophelia is another important character in the tragedy, Hamlet. She is the daughter of Polonius. She is Laertes' sister. She is in love with Hamlet. She has been called a 'Rose of May'. Her father calls her by it. She is remarkable for her childlike innocence. She is an innocent creature like Desdemona. Her only fault is that she is too much docile. She is a girl without a will of her own. Hamlet dominates the play and overshadows nearly all the characters in it, especially the woman he professes to love. She has been brought up in complete submission to her father. She is always ready to obey him without questioning. For wit, common sense and homely nobility, she cannot complete with Shakespeare's great heroines. But she was not intended to do so.

Ophelia's submissiveness becomes evident when she first appears in the play. Her brother Laertes tells her that Hamlet's apparent love for her is merely lust and that she should be on her guard against it. She readily agrees to do so. He has gone and her father speaks to her on the same subject. Then she puts up a feeble resistance which collapses in an instant. Her father excessively forbids her to see Hamlet again. Then she yields without any struggle. Her great dramatic moment is her appearance in disordered garments with garlands of flowers about her. She has gone crazy.

She certainly loved Hamlet. She looked to him as a support to herself in married life. Frustrated in her love, her state of mind is aggravated by the murder of her father. She is young and inexperienced.

To sum up, we may say that Hamlet's treatment of women is fully uncommon, unusual cruelty and bitter cynicism. Gertrude and Ophelia are portrayed with great care. They are both important in the development of the action of the play. Hamlet treats them as a misogynist do.


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