Hamlet has been praised and revered for centuries as one of William Shakespeare's best known and most popular tragedies. Based on its popularity, critics alike have taken various viewpoints and theories in order to explain Hamlet's actions throughout the play. The psychoanalytic point of view is one of the most famous positions taken on Hamlet.
Psychoanalytic criticism is a type of literary criticism that analyzes and classifies many of the forms of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature. As the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines psychoanalysis, as a form of therapy that is concluced ‘by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind' (Barry 96). One of the most popularized psychoanalysts of all time was Sigmund Freud. His theories on repression most directly parallel to Hamlet's actions in the play. This theory states that "much of what lies in the unconscious mind has been put there by consciousness, which acts as a censor, driving underground unconscious or conscious thoughts or instincts that it deems unacceptable. Censored materials often involve infantile sexual desires" (Murfin ). These unconscious desires are seen in dreams, in language, in creative activity, and in neurotic behavior (Murfin ).
This theory of repression also is directly correlated to Freud's Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex deals with Infantile sexuality as well, by explaining that sexuality starts at infancy with the relationship of the infant with the mother, not at puberty. The Oedipus complex assesses that the infant has the desire to discard the father and become the sexual companion of the mother (Barry 97).
In analyzing Hamlet, the Oedipus Complex is clearly apparent to the reader. As a child, Hamlet always expressed the warmest fondness and affection for his mother. This adoration contained elements of disguised erotic quality, especially seen in the bed chamber scene with his mother. The Queen's sensual nature and her passionate fondness of her son are two traits that show her relationship with Hamlet goes beyond the normal mother-sun relationship. Nonetheless though, Hamlet finds a love interest in Ophelia. His feelings for Ophelia are never discussed fully in the play, but it is evident to the reader that at one time he loved her because of the hurt he feels whe...
... middle of paper ...
... of looking at Hamlet's actions. Freud and other theorists were able to take the play and analyze it scene by scene, giving a more in-depth meaning to the actions of the characters. In a sense, Shakespeare wrote two plays in one; one play dealing with a tragedy, leaving the stage with many corpses; the other standing the test of time, in a captivating exploration into an unconscious world of the unknown.
Adelman, Janet. "Man and Wife is One Flesh:" Hamlet and the Confrontation with the Maternal Body. Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Barry, Peter. Beginning Theory. New York: Manchester University Press. 1995.
Jones, Ernest. "Ernest Jones: Hamlet and Oedipus." N. pag. Online. Worldwide web. 21 May 2000. Available at: http://click.go2net.com/adpopup?site=hm&shape=noshape&border=1&area=DIR.EDU.HIGHER&sizerepopup=1&hname=UNKNOWN
Murfin, Ross C. "Psychoanalytic Criticism in Hamlet." Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Shakespear, William. Hamlet. Ed. Susanne L. Wofford. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1994.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In most of William shakespeare 's plays the theme of tragedy is well emphasized. In his play Hamlet, this theme of tragedy has been observed again. The protagonist, Hamlet faces many dilemmas that lead him to undergo many transformations in his personality such as: before the stress of avenging his father he disliked the relationship of the queen and Claudius but after he was introduced with this duty he turned his dislike into the feeling of vengeance towards Claudius, He pursued his burden by acting insane but, later on this acting deeply impacts his nervous system and forces his sanity to lose control.... [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Characters in Hamlet]
1199 words (3.4 pages)
- "Hamlet" is a revenge tragedy written by William Shakespeare. The setting of the story is in the middle ages around the 14th or 15th century. The play is mainly set in the royal palace in Elsinore, a city in Denmark. The story features plenty of deaths and a grueling revenge plot set by our main protagonist, Hamlet. What made "Hamlet" famous was not only it 's classic murderous story line, but also the way that Shakespeare puts together complex scenes. Act III, scene ii was a particular scene in "Hamlet" that captured Shakespeare 's literary genius because he used this scene to advance the play even further.... [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Characters in Hamlet]
1310 words (3.7 pages)
- The Tragedy of William Shakespeare's Hamlet It seems that in this merciless mourning, I have opened a tomb. And though my sight be of seeing, it is not as it once was. For what I see is not with thine own eyes. It is as death appears to those awake. A coldness, an emptiness, that I cannot forsake. Hope Saphos DeVenuto A melody in literature is a language that Shakespeare uses freely in Hamlet with infinite variety. The imagery relates to us to create to the senses a realization of what is occurring as well as to kindle our responses.... [tags: Tragedy William Shakespeare's Hamlet]
574 words (1.6 pages)
- Hesitation in William Shakespeare's Hamlet In Shakespeare?s Hamlet, a ghost tells Hamlet that his uncle, Claudius, is responsible for the death of his father. Hamlet is driven to reveal the truth of his father?s death and seeks to avenge his murder to achieve justice. In his quest to right the wrongdoing, Hamlet delays acting toward justice for many reasons. The main factor for Hamlet?s hesitation is attributed to his self-discipline. He lacks of ability to act on his emotions. Hamlet is an intelligent, moral, and reserved character.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
1085 words (3.1 pages)
- Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Shakespeare's Hamlet is a tale of mortal revenge, lost souls, love and infidelity, and murder in the royal family. Hamlet, his father having recently died, is mourning the marriage of his mother to his uncle. When his father's ghost appears to him and tells him he must avenge the former king's spirit so that it may pass on to Heaven, he decides to put on an "antic disposition" so that no one will know what he is thinking. As time goes by, he cannot move himself to act upon his revenge and is tormented by his indecisiveness and ineptitude.... [tags: Hamlet William Shakespeare]
1503 words (4.3 pages)
- Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet “Follow her close, give her good watch, I pray you” (IV.5.73). Ostensibly, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the riddling, enigmatic, inscrutable theatrical character par excellence. His motives, madness, conflicting morals and existential struggles are ambiguous to say the least. When analysing his character, Laertes and Fortinbras are often brought in as examples of less extreme characters dealing with similar but more tangible dilemmas. The idea that there may be someone who exceeds Hamlet in instability and incomprehensibility is unfathomable.... [tags: William shakespeare hamlet Essays]
2775 words (7.9 pages)
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare A Shakespearean scene, with all of its intricacies and details, has the capacity to uncover the fundamental aspects of characters while acting as a space for precise language to lead the reader through multilayered themes, tensions, and ideas. Particularly in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, the dense, rippling text packs provocative and meaningful language within nearly every line to compose an intricate, seamless tragic play. Specifically in the first scene of Act 3, the actions, dialogue, and movements of each character involved creates a momentum of revelation for the reader regarding central character, Hamlet, and the breadth of his character.... [tags: Hamlet William Shakespeare Essays]
1824 words (5.2 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Hamlet Shakespeare’s works are rife with metatheatrical self-references; as Polonius blathers on about madness early in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Gertrude ends the excessive bombast with the quip, “More matter with less art” (Hamlet, II.i.97). Shakespeare mocks his own poetic form and that of his classical influences with this line, yet his plays are full of lyricism. However, the Greek and Roman texts Shakespeare studied as a boy as well as those of his contemporaries are so full of “art,” (meaning that they emphasize form over content) that they are often considered by the masses as arcane.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
3617 words (10.3 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet has been praised and revered for centuries as one of William Shakespeare's best known and most popular tragedies. Based on its popularity, critics alike have taken various viewpoints and theories in order to explain Hamlet's actions throughout the play. The psychoanalytic point of view is one of the most famous positions taken on Hamlet. Psychoanalytic criticism is a type of literary criticism that analyzes and classifies many of the forms of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature.... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
1274 words (3.6 pages)
- William Shakespeare's Hamlet There are enough conceptions, and thus misconceptions, about the melancholy Dane to fill volumes. However, while none of them has proved entirely acceptable, some of them, such as the diagnoses that Hamlet simply “procrastinates” or “cannot make up his mind” prove utterly unsatisfactory under careful scrutiny of the play and, perhaps more importantly, Hamlet himself. Indeed, it appears as if there are certain points in the play in which Hamlet comes to reversals as he eventually counters each one of his own arguments and concludes each of his struggles, until, in his return from England, he is someone quite different from the self-loathing, melancholy, emotiona... [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
2390 words (6.8 pages)