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Psychoanalyzing Hamlet’s Hesitation Essay

1089 words - 5 pages

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main character, Hamlet, has a disinclination to kill his father’s murderer, who is also his uncle, Claudius. Two reasons Hamlet has such a hesitation is because he suffers from guilt and the Oedipus Complex. The Oedipus Complex, in short, is the “sexual desire towards the mother,” from a boy (Seitenlicht).
The Oedipus Complex, in psychoanalytic theory, is a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process. The term derives from the Theban hero, Oedipus, of Greek legend, who unknowingly slew his father and married his mother.
In Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, the entire plot was Hamlet killing Claudius to get revenge on his father’s murder. After the loss of his father, Hamlet was in mourning. Subsequently, the ghost of his father tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother, Claudius. Hamlet’s father tells him to seek revenge for his death. After having had his father’s ghost tell him to seek vengeance it seems logical for Hamlet to lose sanity and become thirsty for revenge. He did not seem to be incapable of putting his thoughts into action because he killed Polonius, Ophelia’s father, right in front of his mother without any hesitation. Only because Hamlet thought Polonius was spying on him and his mother. Hamlet also did not question sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their doom on their way to England once he found out they were to kill him. It takes Hamlet the entire play to finally kill Claudius. The readers of Hamlet, may have questioned why it took him so long to kill the guy who murdered his father and married his mother. To explain old Hamlet’s death; he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who is Hamlet’s uncle. Claudius murdered old Hamlet simply to take the life that old Hamlet was living. He wanted to have the throne and wanted to marry Gertrude, his brother’s wife. According to Sigmund Freud, Hamlet saw a lot of himself in Claudius. Hamlet knew that if he killed Claudius, he would become king. At the same time Hamlet would also have the right to marry his mother. Hamlet began to think about the revenge and knew if he murdered Claudius, he would be exactly like Claudius. Hamlet would have murdered someone and then ended up being the king, married to Gertrude. “Freud reasons that this is the result of self-reproaches coming up in Hamlet (Dreams 299)” (Seitenlicht). Hamlet knew deep down that it is wrong to sin and keep the prizes of that sin. Hamlet began to go insane because his thoughts were working and his actions were not when it came to seeking revenge on Claudius. “He admits he feels confused, but refuses to say why” (Hamlet 3.1.5-6). Hamlet did not let anyone know about the revenge he was supposed to be seeking so everyone thought his insanity had to do with either his mourning or his love for Ophelia. His guilt seemed to have...

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