The first of the truly significant women in Hamlet is Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. Twayne's New Critical Introductions to Shakespeare.
Renowned Shakespearean critic Harold Bloom credits Hamlet with being "Freud's mentor." For, like Hamlet, Freud contends that people are "lived by drives we cannot command." These looming drives are evinced in an analysis of Hamlet according to Feminist and Psychoanalytic literary theory.
--Inequality of the sexes: In the early part of the play, Hamlet reviles his mother, and blames her for having married her brother-in-law, accusing her of an incestuous relationship (1.2.161-162), as...
--Inequality of the sexes: In the early part of the play, Hamlet reviles his mother, and blames her for having married her brother-in-law, accusing her of an incestuous relationship (1.2.161-162), as well as villainy (1.5.108).
But, he mentions little about Claudius at this point.
Ophelia illuminates the double standard of her brother as she points to his having been promiscuous himself ("puff'd and reckless libertine").
In an example of patriarchal power, Polonius exploits his daughter Ophelia by having her talk to Hamlet and report everything that he says to her.
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Male characters can profitably incorporate female characteristics, and women characters can assume masculine ones" (Kolin 5). ..Feminist Criticism: An Annotated Bibliography and Commentary.
While the women of Hamlet are the bearers of individual and unique feminine qualities, a feminist interpretation of the work also reveals the broader ideals of femininity within many of the male characters.