Custom Written Essays - Hamlet – the Psychological Play
The psychological dimension of the Shakespearean drama Hamlet remains unquestioned by most literary critics. Let us in this essay explore various points of view of the subject.
Strangely, in his essay “O’erdoing Termagant” Howard Felperin states that the closet scene does NOT reveal in a noteworthy way the hero’s state of mind:
Despite its attractiveness to nineteenth-century characterological and twentieth-century psychoanalytic critics, the closet scene tells us little about Hamlet’s alleged state of mind. For most of the scene he does not speak as a son to his mother at all, but as a preacher to a sinner, not out of personal feeling but out of impersonal indignatio. (102-103)
The psychological aspect of Hamlet which is most prominently displayed is his melancholy. Lily B. Campbell in “Grief That Leads to Tragedy” explains:
If my analysis is correct, then, Hamlet becomes a study in the passion of grief. In Hamlet himself it is passion which is not moderated by reason, a passion which will not yield to the consolations of philosophy. And being intemperate and excessive grief, Hamlet’s grief is, therefore, the grief that makes memory fade, that makes reason fail in directing the will, that makes him guilty of sloth. . . . (95-96)
His first soliloquy, about his mother, is quite depressing:
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)
Soon Horatio and Marcellus make contact with Hamlet. Based on this meeting of the hero and Horatio, A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy presents convincing evidence regarding the depth of the hero’s melancholy sentiment:
Hamlet and Horatio are supposed to be fellow-students at Wittenberg, and to have left it for Elsinore less than two months ago. Yet Hamlet hardly recognizes Horatio at first, and speaks as if he himself lived at Elsinore (I refer to his bitter jest, ‘We’ll teach you to drink deep ere you depart’). Who would dream that Hamlet had himself f just come from Wittenberg, if it were not for the previous words about his going back there?
How can this be explained on the usual view? Only, I presume, by supposing that Hamlet is so sunk in melancholy that he really does almost ‘forget himself’ and forgets everything else, so that he actually is in doubt who Horatio is. (370)
The ghost tells the prince that King Hamlet was murdered by Claudius, who had an illicit relationship with Gertrude. Hamlet swears vengeance. Gertrude’s punishment is to be “her conscience” (Edwards 67). The ghost’s visit scarcely provides relief for the protagonist’s melancholy; rather it exacerbates his situation. Maynard Mack in “The World of...