Essay on Hamlet and the Oedipus Complex

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When examining Hamlet through the lens of the Oedipus complex, it is critical to first define and thoroughly explain the Oedipus complex, then to apply it to Hamlet's relationships, before a final conclusion is reached. The Complexities of the Complex Before one can understand the Oedipus complex, one must understand Sigmund Freud's theory on infantile sexuality. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy points out that the roots of Freud's theory can be found in the work of an older colleague of Freud's, Josef Breuer. Breuer discovered that traumatic events in childhood could have destructive repercussions in adulthood. Freud generalized Breuer's discoveries and added that sexual…show more content…
The child now draws many conclusions from this. He will conclude that his father must have taken his mother's phallic away. Since the mother, in the child's mind, is being more or less controlled by the father, and the father still has his phallic, then the phallic is not just an organ, but a symbol of power over these "castrated men," called women. The boy now develops "castration anxiety," the fear that his father will take away his phallic, and make him more like his mother whom he sees as weak. His father is now his enemy, and he develops a deep "sexual" attraction to his mother, called the Oedipus complex. Freud taught that psychologically healthy boys overcame the complex, made the important decision, and at age 6, begin to bond with and attach to their fathers. There are other ways this could play out. If the male child is denied the attachment it needs with his mother at a young age, he may not move on to bonding with his father, for he has not yet gotten over wanting to be with his mother. Also, if a mother or father is not present, the equation is altered. The father could be replaced with a strong male (or masculine) figure, as the mother could be replaced by another, nurturing female (or feminine)

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