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Word Count: 672
Elizabethan society was a patriarchal society in which men took action and responsibility and women were powerless How does the position of women in Elizabethan society affect their portrayal in Hamlet How do you as a member of a 21st century audience respond to the portrayal of Gertrude and Ophelia 676 words In the time that Shakespeare wrote his plays women were not allowed to perform on stage which meant that boys dressed up as women always played the female characters The boys were of course young and without experience so female characters were always relatively small and featuring only a few times throughout This also meant that some of the female characters in Shakespeare might be less developed than he would have wanted and made less of a statement and be more silent Ophelia and Gertrude are two of the female characters created by Shakespeare and can be interpreted as a reflection of womens political intellectual emotional and social lives at that time It was common of the period that Elizabethan writers would turn out literature of an anti-feminist nature In Hamlet the role of women is very reflective of the Elizabethan period Weak fickle and dependant on men were common depictions of women The portrayal of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet show these up these weaknesses clearly It is stated in a journal written at the time Women are considered as creatures set apart from men in many ways Man is the agent women is the patient Thus drawing on the fact that society in the Elizabethan period was indeed a patriarchal one where women were openly viewed as swift and unstable The conclusion was drawn that Since women are weak physically they must be weak morally and mentally as well The conclusion that women are immoral was obviously part of an inspiration in the writing in of the character Gertrude the Queen who famously marries her dead husbands brother
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