The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

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The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the protagonist, Price Hamlet, uses several ways to defend himself against his oedipal desires, his animosity towards his uncle, as well as his own inner conflict . Hamlet's hatred towards Claudius stems from two crimes committed; Claudius' murder of his brother and his incest with Hamlet's mother. Because of the seriousness of both crimes, as well as the fact that both persons affected are closely related, there is evidence of an interrelation between both of the crimes; which can further explains Hamlet's reaction. Following his father, King Hamlet's death, his mother, Gertrude proceeds to marry his Uncle Claudius; this causes a surge of Hamlet's oedipal desires towards his mother. Hamlet attempts to reconcile his incestuous urges using his relationship with Ophelia. Furthermore, his need for vengeance for his father's death causes Hamlet to experience great anger towards his Uncle; Hamlet incorporates the Oedipus Complex in his revenge against his father's murderer, who is presently his mother's husband. At the same time, Hamlet experiences an inner conflict. He is torn between his duty to avenge his father's death and his inability to kill his uncle; which can be seen in relation to his Oedipal Complex as well.

Hamlet's feeling of repugnance towards the marriage of his mother and his uncle is a direct reaction to his repressed Oedipus Complex. Hamlet, at first, seeks to resolve his oedipal desires through the character of Ophelia. "Hamlet appears to have with more or less success weaned himself from [his mother] and to have fallen in love with Ophelia." In the paper "Hamlet Psychoanalyzed" by Ernest Jones, ther...


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...ertrude was controlled by Claudius as well; how they both accepted commands at the male's will, characteristic of the times. Consequently, Hamlet was in a similar Oedipus Complex with Ophelia and Laertes as he was with Gertrude and Claudius; both of which contributed to Hamlet's inner conflict; the murder of his Uncle versus his Oedipal desires.

The character of Hamlet is pulled in all directions throughout the play. He grieves his father, rejects his mother and Ophelia and loathes his uncle all while attempting to deal with inner problems. In reaction to this, Hamlet's character can be seen as one who assumes many different identities; as such, Hamlet uses different methods to defend himself from the opposing forces surrounding him; those forces being, his mother and his sexual desires for her, his uncle and his hatred towards him and himself and his own grief.

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