Oedipus Complex, Penis Envy, And The Tragedy Of Hamlet

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Although it may be a difficult idea to grasp, Shakespeare employed some of Sigmund Freud’s concepts long before Freud himself was even a figment of his ancestor’s imagination. Many scholars discuss Shakespeare’s use of the Oedipus complex, penis envy, and many of Sigmund Freud’s other famous concepts and while a proxy family may not be a Freudian concept specifically, it certainly enables them. Many of Shakespeare’s works include a main character who has a strained relationship with their parent or guardian, but also included in the play is a parental figure, with some conceivably questionable actions or circumstances, and links can be made, through the text, indicating respectful relationships between these characters. The concept of the…show more content…
One may ask, “What could have gone so wrong in their relationship to cause Falstaff’s close friend to abandon him?” There are many speculations to the cause, including, but not limited to, the idea stemming from Prince Hal’s soliloquy in 1 Henry IV, 1.2.173-195, that in order for others to see or believe his best, they must first see his worst. Prince Hal’s treatment of Falstaff leads one to question their relationship, introduced in 1 Henry IV. In this relationship one finds the notion that Prince Hal used Falstaff as a proxy father. The analysis of this concept will be based on textual scenes from The Norton Shakespeare and Orson Welles’ film, Falstaff Chimes at Midnight.
The first scene where readers see Falstaff as Prince Hal’s proxy father is in Act 2, Scene 5 of 1 Henry IV. In this scene one reads Falstaff’s telling of how he, Gadshill, Peto, and Bardolph were robbed after they had robbed the travelers. He tells Prince Hal that first there were two robbers, then four, seven, nine, and finally eleven. From the beginning of the play, readers can tell what kind of character Falstaff is; he was never endowed with great possessions, respect, or status like Prince Hal, so his stories were a way to get attention, even if it was because the others were laughing at his ridiculousness. As Falstaff’s story becomes even wilder Prince Hal becomes more incredulous, not believing how exaggerated the story has become, and is evident in Welles’ Falstaff Chimes at
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