Hamlet: Pain, Murder, Incest

"Frailty, thy name is woman!"

What does this quote mean?

In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, opening scene two, the characters emerge in a brightly lit court at Elisnore Castle, immediately after the wedding of Claudius and Gertrude. All are dressed in beautiful celebratory clothing, yet Hamlet is still in mourning, since it has been less than two months after the death of his father. In his first great soliloquy Hamlet states, "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (Act I, Scene 2, Line 146). Hamlet, of course, is referring to his mother, since the beginning of scene 2 is just after the wedding. Gertrude, in Hamlet's eyes, is a woman weak to the temptations of men. This soliloquy transfer's Hamlet's pain and anger through the ironic setting and the accusations against Gertrude, and towards all women in general. This quote foreshadows the downfall of all the important women in this play.