Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex

1537 Words Apr 10th, 2010 7 Pages
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play about indecision, apprehension, and inner turmoil. Hamlet, the main protagonist, struggles within himself, attempting to muster the courage to avenge his father’s death by the hand of the current King, Claudius, who is also his late father’s brother. There seem to be many possible reasons for Hamlet’s delay in doing so. However, the one theory that answers all the questions is that Hamlet was possessed by his own Oedipus Complex , that is, he was deeply in love with his own mother, Gertrude. This can be seen throughout the play in several ways. Hamlet was understandably upset over his father’s death, but he was much less angry about the loss than he was disgusted with his uncle. His “girlfriend” …show more content…
(V, 1, 192-202)
He seems apathetic towards the bodies in the graveyard, and even after Ophelia’s corpse was brought to the grave, he did not react until Gertrude said:
Sweets to the sweet: farewell!
I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife;
I thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave. (V, I, 230-235)
It was then that Laertes leapt into Ophelia’s grave, and presumably for the sake of attaining Gertrude’s approval, Hamlet did as well. His feelings for Ophelia were of lower priority than pleasing his mother. He stayed with Ophelia for a sexual release, and when Ophelia found out that Hamlet did not love her and what he was using her for, she went mad. The songs she sang before the time of her death were about her dead father, Polonius "He is dead and gone, lady/He is dead and gone/At his head a grass-green turf/ At his heels a stone," (IV, 5, 34 37). "I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I/ cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him/ i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it" (IV, 5, 73 75). This shows how Ophelia was consumed and eventually driven to madness and suicide by the influence of controlling men over her life: Hamlet was the catalyst to her destruction.

King Hamlet’s spirit seemed to be well-aware of the nature of Hamlet’s love for Gertrude.