Masculinity and Femininity in "Hamlet" Analytical Essay by Nicky

Masculinity and Femininity in "Hamlet"
An analysis of how gender distinctions impact Hamlet in Shakespeare's play "Hamlet".
# 149291 | 1,144 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 05, 2011 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper discusses how Hamlet's issues begin with notions regarding masculinity and what it means to be a man. The paper then shows how Gertrude represents a side of the female that is questionable at best, and Hamlet's animosity toward Gertrude causes his merciless treatment of Ophelia. The paper clearly demonstrates how Hamlet struggles with his own identity in relation to the women in his life.

From the Paper:

"Hamlet's issues begin with notions regarding masculinity. He is haunted by the ghost and his request to avenge his father, which is something that he cannot do right away. A prince, however, should feel compelled to avenge his father's death without prodding but this is not so with Hamlet. Therefore, the man begins to experience self-doubt and loathing. This doubt and loathing is directly related to Hamlet's manhood. The model of masculinity is his father and Hamlet experiences difficulty living up to this model. This inability shakes him to the core. Goddard notes that Hamlet experiences a conflict between masculine and feminine traits, adding that he is a "sort of unfulfilled promise of the Platonic man-woman" (Goddard 70). The tension between these poles, Goddard explains, seeks an "equilibrium too unstable to be maintained" (70). This unstable equilibrium drives Hamlet through most of the play because, despite his best efforts, he cannot find a balance. Michael Kimmel claims that Hamlet directly addresses issues of masculinity beginning with the image of young Hamlet "dominated by the idealized memory of old Hamlet" (369). The next masculine image we have in the play is that of the "demonized Claudius" (369). Hamlet is also haunted by the image of Pyrrhus in the play and becomes "temporarily obsessed with the image of warrior masculinity that Pyrrhus represents and he berates himself for his effeminacy in not acting likewise" (369)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Goddard, Harold. The Meaning of Shakespeare. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1960.
  • Michael S. Kimmel, Amy Aronson. Men and Masculinities. Berkshire: Open University Press. 2004.
  • Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Washington Square Press. 1992.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Masculinity and Femininity in "Hamlet" (2011, December 05) Retrieved September 29, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Masculinity and Femininity in "Hamlet"" 05 December 2011. Web. 29 September. 2023. <>