This explication looks at feminist criticism and applies it to a passage in Shakespeare's tragic play, Hamlet. The passage, which will be analyzed, comes in act 3, scene 4, lines 28 to 50, where there is a dialogue between Gertrude, the queen, and her son, Hamlet, right after he has killed Polonius. The passage looks at the relationship between mother and son and uncovers the two stereotypical images of women: Mary "the angelic mother" and Eve " the evil seductress". The work has many contradictions showing how Gertrude's superficial attitude and reactions are classified as Mary and how on the other hand she can be seen as the evil whore, Eve. This passage offers a lot of insight into how "Women are written", and presents the two general ideas of how they are labeled. It also reinforces the idea that women are categorized either as Mary or Eve, black or white and nothing more for the imagination.
The passage starts off right after Hamlet has killed Polonius and sparks the harsh and tempered dialogue between Hamlet and Gertrude. The Queens initial reaction to the ruthless murder is one of an emotional women, depicting her as fragile and weak. The exclamation mark at the end of the sentence further emphasizes the weak and overwhelming response. Hamlet's replies by accusing his mother of the "bloody deed" she helped to act out, in order to kill the King, her former Husband. There is a clear contradiction in this line when he says "almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king and marry with his brother". Hamlet points out the fact that she acts like she is this sweet caring mother, while in reality she is a murderer. This brings the point up about women being either Mary or Eve, that they are categorized and seen as theses two stereotypes, which is divided by a thin line. Gertrude responds to the allegations very surprised as if she could not believe her ears, "As kill a king?". Is she just lying or is she maybe in denial and still believes that she is a saint, the typical Mary that she is supposed to be.