Gender Critique

In this essay I examine how Hamlet’s two role models are exemplary of an idea of Judith Butler in her methodology of gender. I begin by discussing the similarities of King Hamlet and Claudius after summarizing Butler’s work. From there, I compare the two and how their actions point to the idea of no true gender norm. King Hamlet is much more aggressive overall and holds undying love for Gertrude. Claudius, on the other hand, is much more cautious and calculating in his plans for murder and seems to only have superficial regard for Gertrude. I discuss how this is interesting given the fact that both men likely had similar role models to imitate their gender roles from. This points to Butler’s assertion that gender is an imperfect imitation of another’s imperfect imitation. Thus, even though both men attempted to follow their gender roles, their differing attitudes and actions point to that imperfection within their imitation as well as what they imitate. Enjoy!


Duality of Gender Role Models