Vol. 11 (2022)

Frailty, Thy Name Is Toxic Masculinity. Gendered Mimesis of the Power Struggle in Hamlet, Ophelia, and The Northman

Emma de Beus
Columbia University

Published 2022-12-23


  • Adaptation,
  • Conflict,
  • Gender,
  • Mimesis,
  • Revenge Tragedy


The aim of this paper is to examine the features of Hamlet that allow for a new understanding of the play through gendered mimesis. Long discussed as a revenge tragedy and as an exemplary model of mimes, Hamlet is in itself a deliberate and self-aware remake of earlier iterations of this tale and the revenge tragedy genre, and it has been more or less freely adapted over the centuries across multiple genres. Here two cinematic adaptations will be discussed: Ophelia (2018) and The Northman (2022), with special focus on the key female characters of Ophelia and Gertrude.


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