Hamlet – the Psychological Play

1626 Words7 Pages
Custom Written Essays - Hamlet – the Psychological Play The psychological dimension of the Shakespearean drama Hamlet remains unquestioned by most literary critics. Let us in this essay explore various points of view of the subject. Strangely, in his essay “O’erdoing Termagant” Howard Felperin states that the closet scene does NOT reveal in a noteworthy way the hero’s state of mind: Despite its attractiveness to nineteenth-century characterological and twentieth-century psychoanalytic critics, the closet scene tells us little about Hamlet’s alleged state of mind. For most of the scene he does not speak as a son to his mother at all, but as a preacher to a sinner, not out of personal feeling but out of impersonal indignatio. (102-103) The psychological aspect of Hamlet which is most prominently displayed is his melancholy. Lily B. Campbell in “Grief That Leads to Tragedy” explains: If my analysis is correct, then, Hamlet becomes a study in the passion of grief. In Hamlet himself it is passion which is not moderated by reason, a passion which will not yield to the consolations of philosophy. And being intemperate and excessive grief, Hamlet’s grief is, therefore, the grief that makes memory fade, that makes reason fail in directing the will, that makes him guilty of sloth. . . . (95-96) His first soliloquy, about his mother, is quite depressing: 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! (1.2) Soon Horatio and Marcellus ... ... middle of paper ... ...hakespeare, Vivante argues, “consciousness” is complete, final, self-evident, not a façade for more limited elements. Shakespeare “does not replace consciousness with the subconscious, the unconscious, the complexes, the instincts, the subliminal.” (11) Gunnar Bokland in “Judgment in Hamlet” explains Shakespeare’s attraction to the psychological dimension of the drama: In the tragedy of Hamlet Shakespeare does not concern himself with the question whether blood-revenge is justified or not; it is raised only once and very late by the protagonist (v,ii,63-70) and never seriously considered. The dramatic and psychological situation rather than the moral issue is what seems to have attracted Shakespeare, and he chose to develop it, in spite of the hard-to-digest and at times a little obscure, elements it might involve [. . .] . (118-19)
Open Document