Hamlet’s Femininity

De-yan GUO

Abstract


The charm of Hamlet over the centuries largely lies in Shakespeare’s subtle treatment of Hamlet, and many critics have interpreted Hamlet’s tragedy as a result of his indecisive character, his obsession with philosophical thinking or his Oedipus Complex. This essay holds that Hamlet’s struggle with his femininity also contributes to his tragedy. Hamlet does exhibit some masculine traits such as courage, rationality and aggressiveness, but at the same time he is agonized to find that he is as weak, emotional, passive and dependent as a woman. In whatever cases he is placed either as a prince, a son or a lover, he is more identified with women than with men. Such a discovery tortures him and produces in him some sense of self-negation and self-hatred. Because of his deep-rooted patriarchal concept of gender identity, Hamlet cannot make a compromise with the feminine traits in him, and it somewhat prevents him from taking a masculine action to avenge his father.
Key words: Hamlet; Femininity; Masculinity; Tragedy; Self-Hatred

Résumé: Depuis des sicècles, le charme d’Hamlet se trouve largement dans un traitement subtil de Shakespeare de ce personnage et de nombreuses critiques ont interprété la tragédie d'Hamlet en raison de son caractère indécis, son obsession par la pensée philosophique ou son complexe d'Œdipe. Cet essai soutient le point de vue que la lutte d'Hamlet contre sa féminité contribue également à sa tragédie. Hamlet montre certains traits masculins tels que le courage, la rationalité et l'agressivité, mais en même temps il est angoissé de voir qu'il est aussi faible, émotionnel, passif et dépendant comme une femme. Dans quelque cas, il n’est plus traité en tant qu’un prince, un fils ou un amant, il est plus identifié avec les femmes qu’avec les hommes. Une telle découverte le torture et produit chez lui un sentiment d'auto-négation et de haine de soi. En raison de son concept patriarcal profondément enraciné de l'identité de genre, Hamlet ne peut pas faire un compromis avec ses traits féminins, ce qui l’empêche de prendre une action virile pour venger son père.
Mots-Clés: Hamlet; fémininité; masculinité; tragédie; haine de soi

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.css.1923669720090505.011

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