Hamlet and Shadow of a Man for a Feminist Point of View

Essay by ladysilkkUniversity, Bachelor'sB, April 2004

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William Shakespeare's Hamlet centers on the internal struggle of the Prince of

Denmark. Cherrie Moraga's Shadow of a Man centers on the Rodriguez family during

1969 in Los Angeles, California. Most readers are focused on the words and the actions

of these two stories only. Often overlooked and unappreciated are the stories females

characters such as Queen Gertrude of Denmark, Ophelia both of Hamlet and Hortensia,

Rosario, Lupe and Leticia from Shadow of a man. As one author states, "Thanks to

feminist criticism, gender is not indissolvably fixed in Shakespeare. Male characters can

profitably incorporate female characters and women characters can assume masculine

ones"(Kolin 5)

In the Shadow of a Man, Hortensia is the minor female character. She is married

to Manuel Rodriguez . They had two beautiful daughters, Lupe and Leticia. The time

setting is the late 1960's and at that time women really did not have a voice.

They were

more along the line of being seen and not heard. Hortensia in this story represents

strength and love. In the sense of strength, she tries to hold the family together while

Manuel goes out and becomes and alcoholic. While in the sense of love she uses her

love for her children to deal with her issues with Manuel.

One of the voices rarely noted in Hamlet is that of Queen Gertrude of Denmark,

Hamlet's betraying mother and Claudius's sister-in-law made wife. Gertrude has many

of the darker and more mysterious qualities of both Claudius and Hamlet. Her

reflections of Hamlet are her feelings of confusion and unsure loyalty. These are some

of Hamlet's deep-seated weaknesses. Gertrude's tratiorness reflects the dark part of


Even as being Hamlet's mother, she still has a lot of the evil that is with in

Claudius and because of this, Hamlet has a...