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Texts and Traditions (Essay Sample)

The essay asserts that women have been portrayed as the weaker species and undergo great suffering from their male counterparts, as depicted in the texts, \"Hamlet\" and \"Oedipus Tyrannus\". In \"Hamlet\", the two female characters, Ophelia and Gertrude, suffer chauvinistic bias and tragically break loose as the former ends up committing suicide. In Oedipus Tyrannus, male chauvinism drives Jocaster into marrying her own son. It is clear, therefore, that the women in the two texts portray women as being under the firm control of men, driving them them to their tragic ends. source..
Name Course Instructor Date Portrayal of Women in Hamlet and Oedipus Tyrannus Introduction Traditionally, the society has been heavily tilted against women. Throughout history, the female gender has suffered bias and oppression from their male counterparts. Society generally considers women as the weaker sex and incapable of holding their own (Das 1). Shakespeare and Sophocles have captured the plight of women in their texts Hamlet and Oedipus Tyrannus respectively. The two texts present a woman from a disadvantaged point of view and how she struggles to establish a foothold in a male-dominated society. In Hamlet, analysis of the plight of women falls on Ophelia and Gertrude. The two women endure chauvinistic suffering and finally break loose. Gertrude transgresses the patriarchal bounds of femininity by marrying soon after her husband's death, much to Hamlet's chagrin. Consequently, he refers to her as "frail" (Act 1, Scene 2, line 146). It is apparent that Hamlet would have preferred to make decisions for his mother just because she is a woman. He does not trust her mother to make wise decisions even though she has been queen for quite some time. Ophelia, on the other hand, bears the brunt of male chauvinism as she is not allowed to choose for herself who she should love. Her father prohibits her from having a love relationship with Hamlet. Eventually, she commits suicide. In Oedipus Tyrannus, the plight of women falls squarely on Jocasta, Oedipus' wife. When her first husband dies, she has no free hand in choosing her next husband. Society determines that whoever kills the sphinx would be her husband. Oedipus comes along, kills the sphinx and marries her, oblivious of the fact that Jocasta is actually his mother. This contributes to the tragic events in the play. The thesis of this essay, therefore, states that women in the two texts are portrayed as weaker species that undergo extreme suffering at the hands of their male counterparts. Gender discrimination adversely affects omen in the two plays and contributes to the tragedies in them plays. This essay will also compare and contrast the portrayal of women in the two texts. Portrayal of Women in Hamlet and Oedipus Tyrannus Comparison The portrayal of women in both Hamlet and Oedipus Tyrannus is similar in many aspects. The women in Hamlet experience the ravages of male domination throughout the text. To begin with, Hamlet is visibly enraged at his mother for remarrying too quickly. According to Hamlet, his mother, Gertrude, "Would have mourned longer!" (Act 1, Scene 2, line 151). Moreover, Hamlet seems to be unhappy with his mother's choice of a spouse. When Gertrude gets married to Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, Hamlet remarks "it cannot come to good" (Act 1, Scene 2, line 158). This implies that Hamlet and his mother live in a society where women do not make their own choices, especially when it concerns marriage partners (Heilbrun 201). Similarly, in Oedipus Tyrannus, Oedipus mother cannot choose the man she would like to marry. The capacity to choose her new husband does not lie in her hands in spite of the fact that she is mature enough to make informed and wise decisions. This society stipulates that the man that would kill the sphinx would have her as his wife. Oedipus gets news of the sphinx and comes to the people's rescue. However, both he and Jocasta are unaware that they are mother and son. Consequently, mother and son became husband and wife. This is incest. The situation may have been different had the society allowed Jocasta to choose a new husband for herself. Jocasta is the first to realize the great mistake in marrying Oedipus. Instinctively, she tries to shield Oedipus from the devastating realization that he married his own mother. However, Oedipus does not listen to her only because she is a woman. He quickly dismisses her as being frivolous and petty. Male chauvinism, therefore, corrupts Oedipus' interpretation of Jocasta's speech. This reflects the manner in which society treated women in this community. In this play, women are generally treated as inferi...
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