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In a patriarchal society, men consider themselves stronger than women. The stance remains as such even when the facts suggest otherwise. There are numerous stories of men who have fallen prey to women’s seductions that led to destruction in history or mythology . Although Gertrude and Ophelia are generally depicted as weak and subservient to male characters, close reading of the text manifests their strong characters. 
Hamlet is a tragedy drama by Shakespeare that follows prince Hamlet on a revenge mission against the new King Claudius, who killed his father. The phrase “Frailty, thy name is woman” suggests that women in the play are weak and frail, but there is evidence in the text that proves that Gertrude and Ophelia are not as meek as they first appear. 
In a majority of his plays, Shakespeare portrays women, such as Gertrude and Ophelia as weak and at the mercy of men. In that regard, the phrase “frailty, thy name is woman,” accurately describes Gertrude and Ophelia in many instances. In the case of Ophelia, she is depicted as feeble in many situations and seems to be completely under the control of all the males in her life. This includes her father, lover, and even brother.  Furthermore, Ophelia allows her father to control her love life, mock Hamlet, and restrain her from having any relationship with him. Ophelia conforms to her father’s dictates and resists her lover’s approaches by simply replying, “I shall obey my Lord” (I.3.145).  Eventually, she went insane, which is certainly an ultimate measure of mental frailty. Gertrude, meanwhile, exhibits weaknesses in many instances. The most glaring of them was the hurried marriage to Claudius barely two months after the death of her husband. Clearly, she does not trust herself with the responsibility of ruling the country and thus finds a replacement for the late king.  It appears that Ophelia and Gertrude are simply weak women.
However, on further analysis, it is clear that the women are not as weak as it seems at first glance. For starters, the fact that Ophelia can attract the affections of various men is a strong depiction of the allure of her sexuality.  Secondly, she committed suicide, which requires strength of character especially given the eternal consequence of burning eternally in hell. Furthermore, the fact that she does not disobey her father when he prohibits her from having a relationship with Hamlet does not necessarily imply that she is weak. Most probably, her acquiescence is an act of self preservation, as she is intelligent enough to realize that she might suffer more by resisting, especially through being ostracized by society. On her part, Gertrude exhibits in various ways that she is not a victim. Claudius is forced to repeatedly prod her to do his bidding by, for instance, repeating “let’s follow.”   In another scene, she flatly contradicts him by replying: “I will, my lord,” (V, 2, 3946) when he tells her not to drink. Furthermore, Hamlet’s quote: “O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity in incestuous sheets!” (I, 2, 156), indicates that she is strong enough to do what she pleases irrespective of the moral uprightness of the act in the society.
Gertrude and Ophelia appear on first glance to be weak characters, but on closer analysis there is evidence that suggests that they are strong. However, their resistance is underplayed as men want to appear dominant over women in patriarchal societies. Gertrude and Ophelia are tough characters who are depicted as feeble in a way that seems to overshadow their strengths.   

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