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In "Hamlet," who are the two most important women in the play?Who are the two most...

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mlrogers3 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 23, 2008 at 7:08 PM via web

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In "Hamlet," who are the two most important women in the play?

Who are the two most important women in the play? What relationships do they have with Hamlet? Who else do they have relationships with in the play? How do they interact with each other? How does Hamlet treat these women? Does he show them any respect? Your main post will your answers to these questions and your personal reaction to Hamlet's opinion of the women he encounters.

Tagged with discussion, hamlet, literature

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 23, 2008 at 7:46 PM (Answer #2)

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The two most important women in the play are: Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, and Ophelia, the woman that Hamlet loves.

Gertrude has a relationship with Claudius, the King's brother, who she marries very quickly after her husband's death.

"She married. O! most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets.
It is not nor it cannot come to good;
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue"! Act I, Scene II)

Ophelia has a relationship with her father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes.

"Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst
thou be a breeder of sinners? I am myself
indifferent honest; but yet I could accuse me of
such things that it were better my mother had
not borne me". (Act III, SceneI)

After the death of his father, Hamlet comes to resent his mother for her quick marriage to his uncle.  As a result of his distrust of his mother, he begins to reject Ophelia as well.  

Hamlet, does not respect either of them.  He has contempt for all women because of his mother's actions.

He is so disappointed with life, so let down by his father's death, by the suspicion that his uncle killed his father, by his mother's betrayal of his father, and of him, that he is consumed with grief, depression and is caught in a maze of thoughts that trap him in a state of inaction.  

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 24, 2008 at 8:10 PM (Answer #3)

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Well, it would have to be the only two women in the play: Gertrude and Ophelia.

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