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An exploration of Femininity in Shakespeares Tragedies Hamlet In a patriarchal structured society femininity and the female are restricted or defined by the socio-cultural precepts imposed by the male hegemony Therefore in order to examine the feminine as presented in Hamlet and other plays I believe we must have at the fore-front of our minds the masculine system which surrounds the feminine For this reason I propose the most satisfactory means of examining the role of the female is by comparison with that of the male In order to examine the notion of friendship bonding and duty between men and women and in purely male relationships I intend to establish a number of comparisons to demonstrate the importance of the real ideal dichotomy in the presentation and social acceptance of women The comparisons I shall make are between Hamlet and Horatio and Hamlet and Ophelia Hamlet and his father set against Hamlet and Gertrude These comparisons I believe demonstrate the power of male bonding and show malefemale relationships are formulaic in character defining the woman by categories Femininity symbolic of sexual potency and control must be determined by the male hierarchy II Hamlet has an ambivalent relationship with Horatio Hamlet at first distances himself from Horatio and is wary of placing too much trust in his friend Indeed Horatio recognises the individual nature of the Ghosts plight and implicitly therein Hamlets task It beckons you to go away with it As if it some impartment did desire To you alone 1458-60 Hamlet also refuses to confide in his friend believing that Horatio would not be able to comprehend his predicament that the dilemma presented by the Ghost would not adequately fit into Horatios philosophy 16166-7 However Horatio has numerous characteristics which endear him to Hamlet most notably Horatio represents the Ghosts herald and therefore knows of its significance while remaining a point-of-contact wholly external to the distressed father-son
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