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2 Essays: Hamlet & A Good Man is Hard to Find

ShakespeareÆs (1604) great tragedy Hamlet is not overly kind to women. Hamlet loves his mother, but her betrayal of her dead husband by marrying his murderer fills Hamlet repulses Hamlet and fills him with disgust. Hamlet loves Ophelia, but her meddling father and brother and his preoccupation with avenging his fatherÆs death makes him shun this love. Therefore, the only two significant female characters in the play, HamletÆs mother Gertrude and the object of his love, Ophelia, both maintain a torturous and complex relationship with Hamlet.

Ophelia loves Hamlet and Hamlet used to love her. However, his repulsion over his motherÆs fast remarriage to his fatherÆs murderer fills him with contempt for the fairer sex. Hamlet tells Ophelia that she can only be saved by getting herself to a nunnery, ôTo a nunnery, go, and quickly tooö (Shakespeare, 1604, III.i.136). When she asks him if she might return his deliverances she initially ignored, he informs her that he sent her none. When Ophelia becomes frustrated with HamletÆs cold demeanor, she tells him she believed he loved her. He replies to her, ôYou should not have believed me; / for virtue cannot so inoculate our stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you notö (Shakespeare, 1604, III.i.117-118).

HamletÆs disillusionment over his motherÆs actions makes him transfer his anger and grief to Ophelia. He tells her that she must not breed or she will only breed sinners. He curses her and her sex. He tells Ophelia her father is a fool. Hamlet also tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery a second time, but first tells her his dowry to her will be ôcalumnyö if she does marry (Shakespeare, 1604, III.i.134). He also tells her that if she must marry, she is to ôàmarry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of themö (Shakespeare, 1604, III.i.135-136). HamletÆs ravings about women and Ophelia make her believe the rumors are correct and Hamlet ha...

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