A Freudian View of Hamlet

1014 WordsJan 1, 20145 Pages
Kenneth Thomson Acting Out May 2, 2012 Freud’s View of Hamlet My paper will use Dr. Sigmund Freud’s psychological outlooks to analyze possibly the most famous characters in English literature. William Shakespeare’s very own Hamlet. Psychology has been studied since the eighteen hundreds and, after reading through many of Freud’s studies on psychoanalytic culture I feel as though Hamlet is the most deserving of further analysis for this paper. I will analyze the two Freudian concepts that I find to be most interesting and prevalent within the text “Hamlet”; these two concepts are the Oedipus complex and Castration. Both of these concepts were developed by Freud and can be seen represented clearly by Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The…show more content…
The Freudian theory of castration is what stifles the Oedipal complex from ever occurring in real life. Freud claims that when the young male realizes the natural biological and sexual differences between the female and male, he assumes that the female figure is lacking in some way and arrives at the conclusion that she has been castrated, stripped of her male genitals as a form of punishment. In this, the young male becomes scared that his male organ will be cut off by his new archenemy, his father, as a consequence for desiring the mother.2 That being said, I believe that in reality, the young male fears a more realistic punishment from the father, whether a strict beating or yelling, which, may symbolically represent the removal of the male organ, not literally. As I analyze the Shakespearian text I can only see this Freudian theory more and more prevalent by Hamlet’s actions. Hamlet has an undeniable fear of castration; after he uses the play to unmask the fact that his father was killed by Claudius, he comes to realize that he is afraid to take any sort of real revenge. Hamlet states, “I am pigeon-livered and lack gall” (Act II, Scene ii) and accepts that he in unable to act on his madness; this in it’s self is what I believe drives hamlet to become completely insane where he says “my wit’s diseased”(Act III, Scene ii). Hamlet’s inability to overcome his oedipal complex has now become to problematic to his character that he isn’t
Open Document