In many of William Shakespeare's works, it is evident that Shakespeare is alluding the lack of intelligence and weakness of women. "Frailty, thy name is woman" (1.2.146), quoted by Shakespeare in Hamlet is an example of this. In Hamlet, Shakespeare depicts characters like Ophelia and Gertrude as demonstrating weakness and being tools of manipulation by the males in their lives. Their actions and fates are greatly influenced by the men's decisions and are led by the men in their lives, which gives them a weak image. .
Women in the Elizabethan era were reliant on men to make their decisions as they were oppressed and disregarded in society. As Alex Gilbertson states, "this was not a glorious time for most women because they were looked down upon and faced oppression from the men of the society." (1). To begin with, Gertrude being used by male characters and how she reacts to tragedy portrays her as weak-minded. Claudius deceives Gertrude and uses her as a mean to gain power. He marries the Queen to take the throne from Hamlet after the death of his father. Without knowing that it is Claudius responsible for the death of the king, Gertrude trusts Claudius for being the right heir to the thrown and marries him. Claudius also tricks everybody by showing that he is a loving, caring and responsible stepfather to Hamlet in order to gain the trust and love of Gertrude. For instance, Claudius shows his fictitious love for Hamlet in front of the Queen when he states, "This mad young man. But so much was our love"(4.1.19). Claudius shows that he is worried about Hamlet's mental illness, but in reality, he loses his patience with Hamlet and is trying to kill him. He tries his best to display his caring attitude to the queen so that he could seize the crown easily. Gertrude being suppressed by her emotions prevents her from making smarter decisions, thus making her easier to manipulate.