Sigmund Freud, the father of psychology and psychoanalysis, spent a great deal of his time and effort examining the conscious and unconscious mind, which is pertinent to Hamlet. When reading Hamlet, most people jump to basic conclusions about Hamlets madness without delving into what the actual cause is, but using the psychoanalytic lens can give readers a better understanding of Hamlet’s insanity. For example, the main question of the play is why Hamlet didn't kill Claudius earlier in the play. Many people argue that he’s religious and is a man of inaction, but while looking through the psychoanalytic lens it is evident that Hamlet can’t kill Claudius until Gertrude is dead. Kendra Cherry is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist who holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of What is an Oedipal Complex. Cherry gives a simple understanding of the Oedipal Complex which states “According to Freud, the boy (Hamlet) wishes to possess his mother and replace his father, who the child views as a rival for the mother's affections” (Cherry). In the play, Hamlet’s actions are motivated by the Oedipal Complex and his unconscious forces (id, ego, and superego) which prove that only by the death of Gertrude can Hamlet kill Claudius.
Throughout the play we can see Hamlet’s anger with his mother stays at a reasonable level while his anger for Claudius increases over time. It had been at least two months since Hamlet’s father had died and his loving mother Gertrude had married his uncle without haste. It is obvious that Hamlet is seemingly angrier at Claudius because he is somewhat certain of the fact that he killed his father according to the ghost of his father. While looking through the psychoanalytic lens, one can see that there is more to Hamlet than meets the eye. Since Claudius has taken over his father’s position, Hamlet now sees Claudius as an enemy and a foe for Gertrude’s affections. Lysander Kemp was a writer and professor at the University of Texas who wrote many novels and essays including Understanding “Hamlet.” Kemp proved this by stating that “Hamlet is in what is known as the phallic stage of development where children become intensely curious about the genitals of their parents and of other children…” (Kemp 10). This then proves that Hamlet does indeed have intimate and sexual feelings toward Gertrude.
This excerpt is taken directly from Hamlet in Hamlet shortly after Gertrude marries Hamlet’s uncle Claudius. Hamlet says:
That it should come to this! But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother. That he might not between the winds of heaven Visit her face 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, 139-46).
When we analyze this text, Hamlet states that he irks...