Analysis of Act II Scene IV of Hamlet and His Oedipal Complex
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Act III Scene IV has fuelled much speculation and many psychoanalytical perspectives of Hamlet and his Oedipal complex. The scene is set in a closet, typically a private room in a castle while a bedroom was meant for receiving visitors, the convention since the late 19th century was to stage this scene in Gertrude’s bedroom; resulting in further speculation of Hamlet harbouring sexual desires towards his mother. If Gertrude received him in her closet, she treated him more intimately than a son.
In the scene, Hamlet enters and confronts Gertrude, possibly wanting her to confirm her knowledge of Claudius’ crime, to provide further proof of his guilt or whether she was complicit in the crime. Hamlet urges his mother to not only repent but demands she avoid Claudius’ bed (specifically saying to not let Claudius arouse her by fondling her neck, not to stay within his semen-infested sheets, and other shockingly graphic details). It is mainly this part of the scene that resulted in audiences and readers agreeing with Sigmund Freud’s analysis of Hamlet’s desires. Sigmund Freud wrote that H...