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In Shakespeare’s Hamlet play, there are two female characters by the names Gertrude and Ophelia. To understand them in detail, it is important to bring into view both their weaknesses and strengths and the effects they have on them as well as others. Ophelia in the play presents how women are treated by men of which she obeys several men in the play. Ophelia has been taught how to listen and believe in men like her own father and in this case she meets with men like Hamlet. She is so naïve that she has no choice but to believe in the love of Hamlet.
Additionally, Hamlet does not even court Ophelia but the only time they are seen together is in the bedroom when Hamlet kills Polonius accidentally. Ophelia believes they are in a relationship when visited in the bedroom by Hamlet, makes love for her, and then leaves. In line with this, Polonius comes into her life, when he is later murdered she goes insane as she cannot cope with the fact that she lost the love of Hamlet, her father, and that of Polonius and thus she dies at the end of it all.
As a matter of fact, Gertrude on the other hand is a woman who is seemingly not harmful but her poor judgments only translate to occurrences of terrible events. As a mother, she is so insensitive to the feelings of the grieving son Hamlet. Two months after the death of King Hamlet she remarries Claudius the brother of the dead husband. Though she is a loving mother, she is unable to read the feelings of her son who needs attention. By remarrying Claudius, it was counted as incestuous and thus Hamlet in the soliloquy says,” O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets. When questioned she says that it is common for men to die not remembering that this was the death of Hamlet’s father. Gertrude altogether is a woman, who would not like the issues to be thought of deeply, but rather on the surface. She continually obeys the husband who however treats her harshly. Gertrude is an optimistic woman who tries to delight everyone about her, including her husband, King Claudius. Contrary to this, though virtuous, Ophelia is unable to bear and cope without depending on men and thus she goes insane resolving to sing songs and gather flowers. Finally, she drowns in a river with Gertrude on the other hand dying by drinking the poisoned wine made for her son Hamlet by Claudius (Shakespeare, Grosz and Wendler 36). The poor judgment of Gertrude affects her son among others leading to her own death. Again in this case, by being naïve, Ophelia obeys different men in the play whose absence and loss of interest in her drive her insane to a point of finally drowning in a river.