In Shakespeare's Hamlet, do you think the characterization of Gertrude and Ophelia as passive and dependent on men is accurate?  

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I do think the characterization of Gertrude and Ophelia as passive and dependent on the men in their lives is accurate.  Gertrude is so dependent on men that she cannot bear to be alone even for two months after the death of her first husband, and she quickly remarries a man she later comes to see as quite inferior to old King Hamlet.  However, she only arrives at this conclusion as a result of being scolded by her son, Hamlet.  After they speak, she agrees to act according to his instructions rather than her new husband's, King Claudius's.  She seems to need to be constantly led, and she really displays little to no independence until the very end, ironically, when she disobeys her husband and drinks the poisoned wine that kills her.  So much for independence.

Ophelia, likewise, is in love with Hamlet and believes him to be in love with her, but she takes the counsel of her father and brother and breaks off their relationship.  She follows her father's orders until Hamlet finally kills him, and then she goes mad and is unable to keep herself alive in the absence of a man to direct her.  Both Gertrude and Ophelia seem to simply exist as ill-fated players in others' plots, casualties of the schemes of the men around them.

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