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The meaning and origin of the expression: Frailty, thy name is woman

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Frailty, thy name is woman

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Frailty, thy name is woman'?

Alluding to the alleged inherent weakness of character of women.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Frailty, thy name is woman'?

Portrait of William ShakespeareFrom Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1602:

Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month -
Let me not think on't - Frailty, thy name is woman! -
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body...

Hamlet is angry that his mother, Gertrude, has married his uncle Claudius within a month of his father's death. The speech generalizes the attribution of weakness of character from one particular woman to womankind.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.

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