Honor and Excess Pride: Harmful Gender Expectations in Hamlet

In this essay, I explore the way honor motivates many of the male characters in Hamlet. Keeping their honor and acting violently to regain their honor is an expectation of men enforced by society. Without honor, they are nothing. Using Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble, we can see that gender roles are both performative and imitative, and ultimately harmful. Gender roles are exemplified in Hamlet through the male characters’ quests to keep their honor in tact. This need to keep their honor results in the deaths of almost all of the characters, indicating that the expectation that men must be violent is harmful.

Honor and Excess Pride: Harmful Gender Expectations in Hamlet