Giving Way To The Id Essay

664 words - 3 pages

One of the central theme’s throughout Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the question of madness versus sanity. From the first few scenes of the play, one cannot help but question the way that various character’s throughout the play think and behave. In line with Sigmund Freud’s ideas concerning the Id, Ego, and Superego, we see that various characters’ behaviors are clearly defined by these distinct personality structures although not always in the way they are traditionally expected to. Gertrude and Hamlet both find themselves eventually losing control of their lives as they all give way to the Id portion of their personality. It is this downfall that will continually come across as the madness so central and destructive throughout the course of the play.

Gertrude, as the Queen and mother of Hamlet, should exemplify the traits of the Superego defined by Freud. He states that the superego is the “internalized ideals that we have acquired from our parents or society.” (Freud) Given the roles that she plays throughout the play it is reasonable to expect that Gertrude would serve as a moral compass throughout the play and help to encourage righteous behaviors within the other characters. Instead of regulating the morality of her kingdom, Gertrude loses a sense of her role earlier than any of the other characters.
By the time that the play has begun we see that she has substituted “marriage nuptials for mourning rituals” (Bergoffen 146 ) and as a result has suggested to the people around her that there is no reason to mourn and rather that Hamlet, and the rest of Denmark should “cast thy nighted color off... Do not forever with thy vailed lids seek for they noble father in the dust.” ( Shakespeare 25) essentially telling the people to move on just as she has in marrying Claudius. While this could be viewed by some as an action of strength to try to help her kingdom overcome their grief, the quick manner in which she delves into an incestuous marriage represents a clear...

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