My final essay in my Presentation Portfolio is my Poststructural Critique called, Oppressed Ophelia. This essay is a gender critique of Ophelia’s attempt to follow the imaginary roles of being a woman in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. Judith Butler’s overwhelmingly informative piece called, Gender Trouble, deconstructs the meaning of gender as an imaginary, undefinable aspect whose norms were created by society. Turning her ideas over to the characters of Hamlet, I was able to deconstruct how Ophelia’s resort to madness was caused by the pressures forced upon her by her peers to encompass the role of a woman, which is ultimately fiction.
Throughout the essay, I show a step by step process of how Ophelia is struggling to present the expectations of her gender, which she finds it very difficult because according to Judith Butler, it is an unattainable thing. By providing evidence of Polonius assigning Ophelia gender roles, as well as Hamlet testing Ophelia’s performance of those roles, I finished my essay by showing her result of madness. This essay serves as an answer to Ophelia’s ultimate demise of madness through the constant pressures of her peers and self surveillance of her attempt to preform her gender. It also shows how gender can be deconstructed into only a socially constructed idea which can be related to society today.