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Treatment of Women in Hamlet and Trifles Essay

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Treatment of Women in Hamlet and Trifles


Of all Shakespeare’s thirty-seven plays, perhaps the best known and loved is Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Many people think that it is unforgettable because of its poetic language and style. But, while these are factors that mark the play as a classic, it remains timeless because it explores many of the issues that are still important to people today. These issues, including loyalty to family and country, protecting loved ones, and deception are still prevalent around the world, and are especially prominent in the United States government. Another play that addresses major issues that are still relevant to society, especially women, is Susan Glaspell’s Trifles. Because Glaspell’s play shows women that they are certainly just as capable as men of completing any task, it encourages women to take a stand against the supposed supremacy of their husbands. It also forces men to consider more seriously the opinions and concerns of women. While Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Hale in Trifles do this in a quiet manner, they still remain defiant against their husband’s beliefs that they are only competent enough to worry about “trifles” (Glaspell 1618). Therefore, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Trifles explore many issues that are still relevant to society today by questioning, supporting, and criticizing some of them, especially loyalty, gender roles, protecting loved ones, and deception.

First, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark seriously questions the extent to which one should be loyal to one’s family. It obviously holds this value as one to consider seriously because it is the issue on which the play is based, Hamlet’s loyalty to his father. Thus, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark asks its readers to...


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April 2004. http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/columnist/benedetto/2004-04-03-benedetto_x.htm.

Cantor, Paul. Shakespeare: Hamlet. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Crocker, Lisa. “Studies in Liminality: A Review of Critical Commentary on Glaspell’s Trifles.”

30 July 1996. University of South Florida. 28 March 2004. http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/wohlpart/alra/glaspell.htm#knot

Evans, Elizabeth M. “Biographical Influences on Glaspell’s Trifles.” 30 July 1996. University of South Florida. 28 March 2004. http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/wohlpart/alra/glaspell.htm#knot.

Glaspell, Susan. Trifles. Literature. 5th ed. Ed. Robert Di Yanni. New York. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002. 1616 -1626.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Literature. 5th ed. Ed. Robert Di Yanni. New York. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2002. 1395-1496.


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