Revenge and Vengeance - Revenge More Important than Oedipus Complex

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Revenge More Important than Oedipus Complex in Hamlet

A boy's streak of vengeance is not always merely Oedipal. Hamlet's revenge, and the situations that spur it, are not based on his love for his mother, but on the need to avenge his father's death. Although Hamlet is the only one who hears the ghost talk, others experience the sight. This proves that he does not subconsciously create the hallucination in order to rid his mother of her new lover. Once learning that his father was murdered, and that no one witnessed his death, Hamlet feels compelled to punish the killer. Even though the murderer is his mother's new husband, Hamlet acts to avenge his father's death, not out of jealousy for his mother's partner. Hamlet is very angry with Gertrude, his mother, for marrying so soon after her first husband's death. His fury is based solely on his mother's rapid wedding and the person whom she wed, not on Hamlet's sexual desires towards his mother. Although Hamlet may love his mother, his actions of revenge are based on his need to avenge Old Hamlet's untimely death.

The Oedipus Complex is a "universal law" which suggests that all boys become their mother's lover in dreams. "Freud believed that in the phallic stage of development, every boy becomes his mother's lover in his dreams"(1).This may cause them to try to rid their mother of her lover out of jealousy. In Hamlet's case, his revenge is not based on his sexual desires towards his mother but on his need to punish his father's killer. Old Hamlet's spirit, which was seen by Horatio, Bernardo and Marcellus even before gaining access to Hamlet, is not a figment of Hamlet's imagination. Hamlet did not subconsciously create the spirit as a means of creating a reason to ...

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...loyal son's revenge.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Adelman, Janet. Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare's plays, 'Hamlet' to 'The Tempest'. London and New York: Routledge. 1992.

Guerin, Wilfred L., Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C. Reeseman, and John R. Willingham. A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Heilman, Robert B. "The Role We Give Shakespeare." Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Pitt, Angela. "Women in Shakespeare's Tragedies." Readings on The Tragedies. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1996. Reprint from Shakespeare's Women. N.p.: n.p., 1981.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The Riverside Shakespeare. ED. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Haughton Mifflin Company, 1974.

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