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Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex

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Jordyn Michala

on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex

Oh, throw away the worser part it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, the custom, who all sense doth eat.
Of habits devil, is yet angel in this,
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives flock or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night,
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: and the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either master the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
And when you are desirous to be blessed,
I'll blessing beg of you.
(3.4.155-170)
Many authors and readers have suspected that Hamlet suffers from the Oedipus Complex, that he secretly is attracted to, and desires his mother. This partially explains his extreme hatred of Claudius
The Oedipus Complex began when Hamlet has the desire to be king and to be married to his mother but his feelings are hidden in his subconscious
Hamlet feels hatred towards Claudius. Hamlet wishes he had done everything that Claudius had done such as killing Hamlet's (whom Hamlet considered a rival) father and taking the place as King
Hamlet has the mental strength to follow through with the task his father's ghost has given him (killing Claudius), identification (assimilation) takes place with Hamlet's ghost, another one of Freud's theories
Support from Hamlet
Hamlet and Gertrude's Relationship
Sigmund Freud
the father of psychoanalysis
focuses on the unconscious aspects of personality
had a tendency to trace nearly all psychological problems back to sexual issues
people found his theories involving children's sexual desires shocking
Freud's theories were not immediately embraced
a significant number of other psychologists began gravitating toward Freud's point of view as word of his findings circulated
Please disregard the subtitles
Oedipus Complex in Hamlet
What is the Oedipus Complex?
Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex
opposite of the Oedipus complex
describe a girl's sense of competition with her mother for the affections of her father
the term is typically associated with Freud, but it was actually Carl Jung who coined the term in 1913.
There's also an Electra Complex ladies...
Ernest Jones
- Wrote The Oedipus-Complex as An Explanation of Hamlet's Mystery:
A Study in Motive to address Hamlet's behavior using Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis. Ernest Jones believes that Freud's Oedipus Complex is causing Hamlet's behavior and is the reason why he is having trouble retaliating for his father's death. Jones supports his theory by using the Queen's personality and traits. The first trait Jones uses is Gertrude’s unusual fondness for her son and the second trait he uses is her sensuality.
"The story thus interpreted would run somewhat as follows: As a child Hamlet had experienced the warmest affection for his mother, and this, as is always the case, had contained elements of a more or less dimly defined erotic quality. The presence of two traits in the Queen's character go to corroborate this assumption, namely her markedly sensual nature, and her passionate fondness for her son."(Pg.98)

Other Opinions
Hamlet worships Gertrude and treats her as if she's a goddess, but often ridicules his mother for her actions
Some think that Hamlet's relationship with Ophelia is only a substitute to the relationship he desires with his mother
He plays with Ophelia's emotions and affection, much like his mother does to him
He often acts like a jealous lover instead of a son, questioning his mother about her relationship with Claudius
Hamlet and Gertrude's Relationship
Support from Hamlet
term used by Sigmund Freud in his theory of psychosexual stages of development
describes a boy's feelings of desire for his mother and jealously and anger towards his father
a boy feels like he is in competition with his father for possession of his mother
he views his father as a rival
Hamlet thinks about his mother often, seems preoccupied with her
Claudius' marriage to Gertrude filled Hamlet with rage and anger, referring to it as a "o'er hasty marriage"
Hamlet seems obsessed with his mother's sexuality, often mentioning Claudius' sexual actions toward Gertrude
Before Hamlet dies he says his goodbyes to the "wretched queen," this reveals that he still is somewhat fixated with his mother
Oedipus Complex in Hamlet
This quote shows that Hamlet is jealous of Claudius for doing all the things Hamlet wishes he had done. Hamlet is in his mother's bedroom telling her to not sleep with Claudius. He is jealous of the affection his mother is giving to Claudius and not to giving to him. In this scene of the play Hamlet confesses his love to his mother. He tells her how he really feels about her and her relationship with Claudius.
Sources
http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474977715874
http://www.shakespeare-navigators.com/jones/welcome.html
http://jared.realizingresonance.com/2011/02/27/hamlets-alleged-oedipal-complex
http://www.uvm.edu/~jbailly/courses/tragedy/student%20second%20documents/Oedipus%20Complex.html
http://jamietuohy.com/2012/03/08/the-relationship-between-hamlet-and-gertrude/
http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/psychoanalysis/definitions/oedipus.html
http://producer.csi.edu/cdraney/archive-courses/fall09/175/etexts/repression-hamlet_freud.pdf
…Hyperion to a satyr: so to my loving mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her too roughly. Heaven and Earth!
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!
(1.2.140-145)
This quote shows that Hamlet is again jealous of the relationship his mother and Claudius have. Hamlet wants his mother to love him not Claudius. The quotes portrays Hamlets anger towards his mother waiting only a month to remarry. Hamlet wants his mother to love him more than just a son. Hamlets feelings towards his mother in this quote represent the Oedipus Complex.
The Interpretation of Dreams
by Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud wrote about Hamlet in his book
The Interpretation of Dreams
. He explained the connection between the Oedipus Complex and Prince Hamlet. Freud explains that Hamlet portrays the Oedipus Complex in a different way than Oedipus Rex. Freud states, "Oedipus Rex the basic wish-phantasy of the child is brought to light and realized as it is in dreams; in Hamlet it remains repressed, and we learn of its existence- as we discover the relevant facts in a neurosis- only through the inhibitory effects which proceed from it". Freud states that Hamlet uses a more modern approach to the Oedipus Complex. Modern dramas use the protagonist's uncertainty towards the over-powering effect of the tragedy to portray the Oedipus Complex. Freud agrues that Hamlet also does this.
Jordyn Powell & Michala Whitehead pd.2
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