Weak Women

Day 4

COMMENT – the theme of female “weakness” runs throughout Hamlet. The ghost references Gertrude’s weakness as the only justification why she would marry her dead husband’s brother. Hamlet famously speaks of his mother “frailty, thy name is woman” (Act I, scene ii). And Ophelia. Well, we know all about Ophelia’s problems… And worth noting – in Shakespeare’s time, women were not allowed to act on the stage, so in an ironic twist, all of these references to the weakness of the female characters were acted by Men.

QUESTION – How does the “weak women” theme play to a modern audience? How do you think the play would be changed if Gertrude and Ophelia were rewritten as strong, independent women?


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