Women in the Shakespearean Era

Category: Literature
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Why is the fate of women taken carelessly by some actors and actresses? During the Shakespearean era, the role of women in most works was played by men and boys. This was because in the mediaeval world stage acting by women was considered disgraceful. William Shakespeare era considered acting to be a masculine profession rather than feminine. Most acting groups’ recruited boys and men often compared to women. This take of women was mostly during the British time which prohibited women from acting but came to an end in the reign of Charles II who enjoyed watching female actresses on stage. In Hamlet, women are taken to depend fully upon men a situation that was not evident after the 16th century.

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Gertrude was the queen of Denmark, mother of Hamlet and also wife to Claudius. She is a woman who values status and affection more than moral uprightness and esteem. As portrayed in the play, a grace and attraction were the only a characteristics and a reliance on men appeared to be a sole way of maximizing on her abilities.


Ophelia was the little girl of Polonius and the sister of Laertes.

In the play, she was depicted as beautiful and innocent young women and played the role of Hamlet’s irresolute love interest. When Ophelia recognizes a notable character difference in the play she turns to her father for advice who do not comply to her request but secretly spies on the play.

Gertrude and Ophelia, the only women characters in the Hamlet, portray the real status of women in Elizabethan time. As it is evident in the plot of the play, women were suppressed by the males all their lives. Gertrude, Ophelia, and women, in general, had little or no power at all because of the nature of their restricted legal, social and economic rights as found in the Elizabethan society.

Brothers, fathers and male partners saw women be inferior. This was evidently portrayed during the time when Ophelia tried to seek her father’s advice concerning the hamlet. Laertes and Polonius were concerned with protecting Ophelia, arguing that Hamlet will only use her for sex and nothing constructive would come out of it.

Submissiveness and dominance were some of the major roles expected of women as portrayed by William Shakespeare in the work of Helmet. Ophelia submits to her father’s denial of joining the Hamlet but because she was more than interested in the play, she chooses to spy on the progress of the play. In the society dominated and governed by men, it is only natural for a woman to seek a survival merely for them to survive for an extra day living. They even went to an extent of giving in to their master’s humbling requests. Regardless of the prolonged denials by the men in the play, women portray their tolerance and determination in assuming the forced capacity instilled in them by men. This was seen when Gertrude placed flowers on the grave as a show of her continued love in men. There was also open neglect by the men. Claudius of Polonius slaughter by hamlet was nothing rather than the danger posed to his wife. Following Gertrude’s disclosure, he remarks that had she been not there, he would be exposed to danger. This climaxes her vulnerability and suggests that Claudius is more concerned about himself than his wife.

Women are seen to be weak and immoral. Ophelia and Gertrude are seen to be meek and victims of thee societies decaying take on women. When Ophelia tries to convince her brother and father about the hamlet, they argue that she won’t get any benefit from it rather than being used sexually. Women seem to be conquered from the kickoff and this proposes that they were not trusted to make their own decisions. For instance, when Ophelia and Gertrude wanted to join the play, they had to seek permission in pretense for advice from their men partners.

However, women went through a very hard and trying moments coping with the Elizabethan societal blueprints, they also sought to be vengeance of their stolen democracy if not expression of their interests. For instance, Ophelia lied to Polonius about the whereabouts of her father. Gertrude also almost differed with the male partners all through. She also tries to protect her later son from following men’s characters.


Generally, the role of Ophelia and Gertrude in the whole play depicts that, it would rather be impossible for the intended subject matter to clearly come out throughout the play without the inclusion of their roles. It is therefore clear that, though women were considered inferior and unworthy to be on stage, they still fight for their position in the Elizabethan society before it came to an end. If it were not for the roles played by women, the play would not have unveiled the so thought impossible possibility of women acting live on stage.

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Women in the Shakespearean era. (2019, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/women-in-the-shakespearean-era/