Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex

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Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex William Shakespeare's play Hamlet contains very similar elements to Sophocles' Greek Myth, Oedipus Rex. In the late 1800s through early 1900s, a Doctor based out of Vienna, named Sigmund Freud, developed a theory based on the events of the play Oedipus Rex, which has since been coined the "Oedipus Complex." Ernest Jones also applied his knowledge of Freudian psychology and wrote a persuasive paper suggesting that Hamlet cannot kill his uncle Claudius because of his repressed feelings for his mother. In the story of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus fulfills a prophecy given to him, by killing his father Laius and by sleeping with his mother Jocasta. When Oedipus realizes he has fulfilled the prophecy he gouges his eyes out, causing blindness. In Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark finds himself stuck in the Oedipus stage (Uncle instead of his father.) As the play progresses, Hamlet seems unable to cope with his repressed childhood feelings, leaving him in a state of confusion and melancholy. Hamlet struggles to find truth amongst the people he once trusted. He appears disturbed because of his lustful, feelings for his mother Gertrude, while his hate for his uncle Claudius seems to grow deeper. There are many parallels that we are able to draw from Shakespeare's Hamlet to Sophocles' Oedipus Rex. Freud used the Greek myth Oedipus Rex as a means of breaking down the human subconscious. According to Freud, all males suffer from the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex can be defined as the male's unconscious drive to lust for his mother and the desire to kill his father. Freud believed that there are two opposing forces that exist within all human beings. He said, that the ... ... middle of paper ... ...nes, E. Hamlet and Oedipus, in Bevington, David Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet. New Jersey:Prentice Hall, 1968 Kovesi, Dr S. Lecture handout 'Hamlet and Psychoanalysis' 2002 Shakespeare, W. Hamlet The Oxford Shakespeare ed. Olver, H.J Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982 Information regarding Freud's theory and works taken from website addresses http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Crete/4158 (General information) http://www.freudpage.com/en-us/freud/psychotheory1.html (Classic Psychoanalytic Theory) http://www.mii.kurume-u.ac.jp/~leuers/Freud.htmn (Psychoanalytic Theory) http://www.geocities.com/~mhrowell/ (Psychoanalytic Theory) http://fox.klte.hu/~keresofi/psychotherapy/index.shtml (Dictionary of Psychoanalytical Terms) http://www.vuw.ac.nz/psyc/vornikFreud/FRONT.HTM (General information and Psychoanalytic Theory)

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