William Shakespeare is by far one of the most highly praised playwrights known to humanity. Within the conceptual framework of his plays, he explored various social issues, and honor evidently was one of those issues. Within the scope of this research, we will elaborate on male and female honor in two of Shakespeares plays Hamlet and Much Ado about Nothing. In Hamlet, Shakespeare illustrates how womens honor transforms into the ability to escape the traditional gender roles, while males honor is shown as mens reluctance to allow women do so. In Much Ado about Nothing, Beatrice and Benedict, two main characters, are both honorable people, and Shakespeare compares the manifestations of male and female honor in this play. Women in Shakespeares plays are rather different than in the plays of his contemporaries. They attempt to step out of traditional female roles and search for equal rights.
They rebel against the male oppression. Shakespeare shows womens honor by illustrating their escape of the traditional gender roles, while males honor is looked at as trying to make women behave as they should according to mens attitudes. Ophelia had pre-marital relations with young Hamlet and Gertrude married her brother-in-law. Both women were able to make their men do as they please, because of their uncanny ability to manipulate men with their femininity. First and foremost, the relationship that Ophelia had with Hamlet caused total chaos for the people that were involved. This was seen as rebellious by Ophelia because during that time it was considered taboo; women were to remain innocent and virginal until marriage. Polonius indicated his discontent when he said, Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers, Not of that dye which their investment show, But mere implorators of unholy suits, Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds, The better to beguile.
In Shakespeare's plays, there are many important scenes. In "Hamlet" one of the most important is Act III scene ii. This could be because it is a "key" scene in the fact that in unlocks a path for which the rest of the play will follow course. Or that it is a "key" scene because of its content, like the fact that it contains a play-within-a-play ect. In my essay, I will discuss both of the point ...
(Shakespeare, p. 67) This shows that Ophelia was disobeying her father, which is still frowned upon to this day, and yet she was carefree. What Ophelia did was controversial; she fell in love without being married. Marriages were arranged and usually the female had not experienced true love ever before. Ophelia had a free spirit that could not be tamed and she opened the doors to pre-marital relationships. It is evident why she managed to fall in love with Hamlet.
Laertes depicts falling in love with Hamlet as a treacherous act when he said, Fear it, Ophelia, fear it, my dear sister, And keep within the rear of your affection, Out of the shot and danger of desire. (Shakespeare, p. 114) Some fall in love only with people that provide them with a rush. That is the situation with Ophelia. The reason she loves him is because he is perceived to be a threat to the people around him and that is what turns Ophelia on. Furthermore, Gertrude’s controversial marriage to Claudius also managed to infuriate some of the characters in this marvelous play.
The reason this marriage took place was so that Gertrude could keep her rank within society, that being queen and the power that came with it. If she had not married Claudius, then his wife would have been crowned, whenever that may have happened. That is why Gertrude seized the opportunity that she was presented with, so she could remain a monarch of Denmark. This, in turn shows the intelligence level of Gertrude and what she was capable of. Women in the Elizabethan Era were not educated and considered to be property of their male counter part. Yet, Gertrude managed to break through this glass capsule that women were encompassed in by conceiving a divine plan that revolved around her ambitions. Hamlet was disenchanted by the marriage and expressed his disapproval when he made the remark, for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within these two hours.
Ophelia, in this tragedy many see her as just Hamlet?s lover, a character who is selfish in not helping Hamlet when in need, or just a psycho lover with a lot of problems. What if the story was twisted so that the play wasn?t a tragedy and actually turned into a love story due to Ophelia? This is how I would have written it if I were William Shakespeare. Ophelia who was Hamlet?s love in the play ...
(Shakespeare, p. 66) Hamlet was frustrated because he thought Gertrude did not properly mourn his father’s death. Hamlet also felt that his father was betrayed and lacked the authority to do anything about it. This is relevant because Hamlet was powerless to his mother and at that time in history, it should have been vice versa. Finally, the women had the uncanny ability to manipulate their male counter parts with their femininity. Hamlet realized the power Ophelia possessed when he uttered, God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp. (Shakespeare, p.
201) Although males and females perceive honor rather differently, Shakespeare is able to illustrate both views in Hamlet..