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The Many Identities Of Hamlet In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

829 words - 3 pages

The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the protagonist, Price Hamlet, uses several ways to defend himself against his oedipal desires, his animosity towards his uncle, as well as his own inner conflict . Hamlet's hatred towards Claudius stems from two crimes committed; Claudius' murder of his brother and his incest with Hamlet's mother. Because of the seriousness of both crimes, as well as the fact that both persons affected are closely related, there is evidence of an interrelation between both of the crimes; which can further explains Hamlet's reaction. Following his father, King Hamlet's death, his mother, Gertrude proceeds to marry his Uncle Claudius; this causes a surge of Hamlet's oedipal desires towards his mother. Hamlet attempts to reconcile his incestuous urges using his relationship with Ophelia. Furthermore, his need for vengeance for his father's death causes Hamlet to experience great anger towards his Uncle; Hamlet incorporates the Oedipus Complex in his revenge against his father's murderer, who is presently his mother's husband. At the same time, Hamlet experiences an inner conflict. He is torn between his duty to avenge his father's death and his inability to kill his uncle; which can be seen in relation to his Oedipal Complex as well.

Hamlet's feeling of repugnance towards the marriage of his mother and his uncle is a direct reaction to his repressed Oedipus Complex. Hamlet, at first, seeks to resolve his oedipal desires through the character of Ophelia. "Hamlet appears to have with more or less success weaned himself from [his mother] and to have fallen in love with Ophelia." In the paper "Hamlet Psychoanalyzed" by Ernest Jones, there is mention of many similarities between the Queen and Ophelia, as was seen by various writers; Ophelia seemed to take over Gertrude's role as mother by becoming Hamlet's source of affection. Furthermore, the idea of sexuality being connected with Hamlet's mother can be seen in comparison to Hamlet's association between Ophelia and erotic desire. In essence, Hamlet is reverting to a more infantile mind frame when associating Gertrude with Ophelia, subconsciously trying to defend himself against his unresolved Oedipal desires towards his mother. However, when King Hamlet dies and Gertrude remarries, Hamlet's repulsion of his mother is transmitted to Ophelia, causing Hamlet to completely reject her.

Hamlet's oedipal desires for his mother, Gertrude, emerge following his father's death. However, contrary to the natural course of the Oedipus...

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