Analysis of Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare’s epic revenge tragedy, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the titular character Hamlet is plagued by indecision and delay, which ultimately causes his own downfall. After the opening Act, in which Hamlet is charged with the revenging the murder of his father, the late King Hamlet, Hamlet delays in carrying out the deed against his uncle, Claudius, who assumed the throne after committing regicide. Critics over the years have developed six distinct theories that seek to explain the reason behind Hamlet’s delay: He is believed to have been the victim of circumstances beyond his control; Hamlet’s philosophical nature creates a passive negative personality complex. Hamlet’s depressive nature may have clouded his judgment, thus delaying his actions while he grieved, or Hamlet’s desire for revenge was tempered by his ambition. The cabalistic identity of the apparition of may have caused Hamlet to delay while he sought to justify his charge, or the existence of an Oedipus Complex may have caused Hamlet to delay while he sought to address his mother’s situation, and his feelings for her. The Oedipus Complex is possibly the least likely in the play, as it relies mainly upon the need for contextual subtlety that can be interpreted in several lights, depending upon the era from which one views the text. Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus Complex is the quintessential of both an unhealthy relationship that draws from childhood and the immaturity that stems from latent psychosexual development. His original theory stems from the belief that children go through four stages: the oral, anal, phallic, and latent genital stage. In concern to the Oedipus Complex, the linchpin revolves around the phallic stage, during which the male and female ... ... middle of paper ... ...sed was condemned to Hell. However, these points only serve to prove that Hamlet was unable to verify immediately the apparition’s account, not that this uncertainty causes delay. That conclusion is drawn from the roundabout process through which Hamlet set up his insanity defense as well as the circumstantial interrogation of Claudius through the his adapted play. Rather than simply kill Claudius by sword in front of the court, Hamlet sought to confirm the murder of his father, despite seemingly believing it when he privately vowed death to his uncle/father upon the Elsinore’s roof. Time spent shoring up the belief that he is insane and the several days spent composing the play for the acting troop resulted in Hamlet being able to strongly believe that Claudius killed his father, but at the expense of time and the element of surprise—and in the end his own life.

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