Frailty thy name is woman. explain.

This is Hamlet’s observation of the women, taken from “Hamlet“. Frailty means weakness and lack of health. By the word “frailty” Hamlet means that women are morally and mentally weak. According to Hamlet, another name for women is frailty. This comment comes from the bitterness upon his mother Gertrude. Old Hamlet, the former king of Denmark, died about a month ago. His mother remarries his uncle, Claudius. Through the dialogues of Hamlet, we can understand that Gertrude should not have married very soon. Hamlet cannot endure this.

More Notes: William Shakespeare 

Hamlet accuses his mother of the murder of his father. Hamlet thinks of his mother as a partial plotter against his father, as the Ghost describes her as a lustful woman. But Gertrude replies soon to him by saying in an exclamation as if she does not know anything about the murder. It shows that Gertrude has no part in the murder of Old Hamlet. Actually, Claudius uses her. For this reason, we can treat her as victimized. 

There is a relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia. But her father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes does not allow their relationship.  Polonius says her that Hamlet will abuse her chastity and leave her. He takes her promise that she will not spend time alone with Hamlet anymore.  

More Notes: Suggestions

Hamlet treats harshly toward Ophelia at the time of his madness. He shows his madness for getting the real murderer of his late father. So, he has treated her like this. Being hurt by Hamlet, she cuts off all relationships with him and rejects his letter. 

As the play progresses, Gertrude and Ophelia are weakened by outer forces. They cannot express their emotions and are dependent on males. So, we can say that Ophelia and Gertrude prove the validity of Hamlet’s observation of women so far. 

Rashedul Islam
Rashedul Islam

Hi, This is Rashedul. Researcher and lecturer of English literature and Linguistics.

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