Hamlet: A Psychoanalytic syudy

to Be or Not To BE...that's the Eternal Question

The incentive moment in the play “Hamlet” happens in Act 1, Scene 5 when the Ghost tells Hamlet of his murder. Hamlet must get revenge for the murder of his father.

Hamlet is reasonable and wants to find out if the ghost is his father or a devil. During the rising action Hamlet comes up with a plan to find out if Claudius murdered his father. He enrolls the help of traveling players to act out the murder of King Hamlet.

The climax of the play is in Act 3, Scene 2 when King Claudius reacts to the play affirming the ghost’s message. At this point Hamlet knows he must kill Claudius and the play begins to unravel.

The resolution of the play is found in Act 5 scene 2. Horatio tells Fortinbras that Hamlet needs to be honored and that he will explain the story of the House of Denmark and the Great Tragedy that has happened. Horatio emphasizes the causes of the tragedy.

Shakespeare conveys several ideas to the reader:

Reason vs. Passion

The great faculties of man vs. The shared destiny of man (death)

The fear of death and an unbearable life.
major conflict · Hamlet feels a responsibility to avenge his father’s murder by his uncle Claudius, but Claudius is now the king and thus well protected. Moreover, Hamlet struggles with his doubts about whether he can trust the ghost and whether killing Claudius is the appropriate thing to do.
hemes · The impossibility of certainty; the complexity of action; the mystery of death; the nation as a diseased body

motifs · Incest and incestuous desire; ears and hearing; death and suicide; darkness and the supernatural; misogyny

symbols · The ghost (the spiritual consequences of death); Yorick’s skull (the physical consequences of death)
It is not surprising that during the twentieth century, psychoanalytic explanations of the character of Hamlet have enhanced our understanding of the play and its meaning. In the Interpretation of Dreams, Freud suggested that the King’s killing Hamlet’s father and marrying his mother must have reactivated the prince’s own infantile desire to commit these acts. This point was best expounded by Jones, enlarging and clarifying what Freud had earlier said.

According to Jones’ theory, Hamlet is unable to kill the King because Hamlet identifies with the King, “his uncle incorporates the deepest and most buried part of his own personality,” so that he cannot kill him without killing himself. Simply stated, it is Hamlet’s inability to resolve his Oedipal struggle that brings his downfall. It is difficult to deny that this theory has some validity since, after all, Claudius did do what according to Freudian psychology Hamlet himself secretly wished to do.
1. classic studies like Bradley’s Shakespearean … interpretation
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_approaches_to_Hamlet

Author: renjiveda

I'm not I

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