First, we should start with Ophelia, a beautiful woman who has won the love of Hamlet and who loves him dearly. Hamlet promise to marry her, however, he took her innocence (virginity), mistreated her, and finally left her. Ophelia unknowingly was a part of a trap set by her father Polonius and the king to find out the source of Hamlet’s madness, this made Hamlet completely angry and was the cause of his painful treatment to Ophelia this is why he tells her “… God hath given you one face and you make yourselves another. (lll. l. 50) He thinks that Ophelia is in complot with her father that she is pretending to be too ignorant to know what she is doing. “… 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 born me” (lll. l. 130-133) Hamlet tells Ophelia that he never loved her and that she should go to a nunnery rather than marrying and passing her genes on to children, who would eventually end up as sinners. In other words, he told her that if children turn out to be sinners it is their mother’s fault.
At this point Hamlet doesn’t believe in marriage and woman, he never says he hates woman but his words demonstrates it …”I say we will have no more marriages. Those that are married already, all but one, shall live; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery go. ” (lll. l. 150) the reader is left with much uncertainty about the true feelings of the prince for Ophelia. Did he really love her? Hamlet shows his own disdain in just few words. In this case he is referring to his mother; however this is his point of view of woman in general.
In this quote Hamlet is angry because his mother has gotten married with Claudius and did not remain devoted to her husband’s memory in the way a loving wife should. ”O god a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer” (l. ll. 150) To put the matter in other words, an animal would find the loss of its mate more upsetting than the queen did when she lost her husband. In his mind woman are frail and weak this is why he says that woman is just another name for weakness. . “Frailty, thy name is woman” (l. ll. 148) His bitterness has lead him to believe that all women are dishonest and untrustworthy.
In the play the talk about sexuality is seen very often. Hamlet starts to torment his mother by telling her that she is sleeping with her husband’s killer. “ But you live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, stewed in corruption and making love over that nasty sty” (lll. lV. 100) He also tells his mother that she should not condemn the young when they are overcome by passion, since older people burn just as hot, and reason surrenders to lust. “When the compulsive ardour gives the charge, since frost itself as actively doth a burn and reason pander will” (lll. lV. 3) Hamlet treats Gertrude with harsh words, she is to blame for the hate that now consumes him. In reality Gertrude is not an evil person in the play, however, her actions make her the responsible for inducing her son’s madness for making him hate woman, and for all the tragedies in the play as a whole. On the other hand, Hamlet knows that even though she has made mistakes she has not stopped being a mother to him, apart from that he stills feels anger towards her and the hate that he now feels for Ophelia is just a displacement of his feelings for his mothers towards the poor and innocent Ophelia.
In contrast, he contradicts himself many times. In the nunnery scene he was mean to her and broke her heart, now in her grave he tells his brother “I loved Ophelia, Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. ” (V. l. 262) Both woman in the play end up being controlled by the male figures and end up taken advantage of by Hamlet and the other mans. Ophelia is the only victim in the whole play because she has been at the mercy of all the male figures in her life. Her obedience leads her to her own destruction.
In conclusion, Hamlet’s cruel, cold and accusing speech in the nunnery scene can be evidence that Hamlet does hate woman and that he uses Ophelia as a tool in his revenge plan. On the other hand, it is Queen Gertrude’s behavior that has provoked the unforgivable treatment that Ophelia has received by price Hamlet. All of the above mentioned scenes help clarify the interpretative issues of the play. In addition to the sexual tension between Hamlet and his mother which are inappropriate, by the kissing and tender embraces can be determine that Hamlet had sexual desires for Gertrude. This can be the main reason for him to despise woman.