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Freudian Psychology in Hamlet and The Handmaid's Tale

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Andrew Osmun

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of Freudian Psychology in Hamlet and The Handmaid's Tale

Freudian Psychology in
The Handmaid's

A journey through Freud's beliefs and how they can be applied to the character's in
The Handmaid's Tale.
Freuds Id, Ego, and Superego
Freud's idea of "Penis Envy"
"The pen between my fingers is sensuous, alive almost, I can feel its power, the power of the words it contains. A
pen is envy
, Aunt Lydia would say, quoting another Center motto, warning us away from such objects. And they were right, it is envy. Just holding it is envy.
I envy the Commander his pen. It's one more thing I would like to steal.
" (Atwod, 186.)
By Caroline Buchanan and Andrew Osmun

A Freudian concept in which envy of the penis is postulated as the cause for some of the characteristics found in women
Penis Envy- n
-basic instinctual drives
-present from birth
- needs, wants, desires, impulses,
sexual and aggressive
-"pleasure principle"
-oedipus Complex
Offred and the Commander's Relationship
-reality principle
-mediate between id and reality
-defense mechanisms
"Sometimes, after the games, he sits on the floor beside my chair, holding my hand. His head is a little below mine, so that when he looks up at me it's at a juvenile angle. It must amuse him, this fake subservience."(210)
-aims for perfection
-socially appropriate behavior
-represses unconscious urges of the id
Offred and Luke
"I want you to kiss me, said the Commander." (135)
Hamlet: O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half!
Good night.
But go not to my uncle's bed.
Assume a virtue if you have it not." (
Act 3, Scene 4
, page 181)
Hamlet: So excellent a king, that was to this
Hyperion to a satyr
; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face to roughly. (Act 1, Scene 2, line 143)
Offred's Id, Ego, and Superego
Why Freud?
What is Freudian Psychology?
"The door of the room -- not
room, I refuse to say
... "(8)
"But this is wrong, nobody dies from lack of sex. It's lack of love we die from." (103)
"In reality his uncle incorporates the deepest and most buried part of his own personality, so that he cannot kill him without also killing himself."
- Ernest Jones, Hamlet and Oedipus

Hamlet: And now I'll do't.
[he draws his sword]
And so am I revenged. That would be scanned:
A villain kills my father, and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. (Act 3, Scene 3, line 78)
"I went back to Nick. Time after time, on my own, without Serena knowing. It wasn't called for, there was no excuse. I did not do it for him, but for myself entirely."(268)
"I wanted to feel Luke lying beside me. I have them, these attacks of the past, like faintness, a wave sweeping over my head. Sometimes it can hardly be borne. What is to be done, what is to be done, I thought. There is nothing to be done."(52)
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