William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet contains very similar elements to Sophocles’ Greek Myth, Oedipus Rex. In the late 1800s through early 1900s, a Doctor based out of Vienna, named Sigmund Freud, developed a theory based on the events of the play Oedipus Rex, which has since been coined the “Oedipus Complex.” Ernest Jones also applied his knowledge of Freudian psychology and wrote a persuasive paper suggesting that Hamlet cannot kill his uncle Claudius because of his repressed feelings for his mother. In the story of Oedipus Rex, Oedipus fulfills a prophecy given to him, by killing his father Laius and by sleeping with his mother Jocasta. When Oedipus realizes he has fulfilled the prophecy he gouges his eyes out, causing blindness. In Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark finds himself stuck in the Oedipus stage (Uncle instead of his father.) As the play progresses, Hamlet seems unable to cope with his repressed childhood feelings, leaving him in a state of confusion and melancholy. Hamlet struggles to find truth amongst the people he once trusted. He appears disturbed because of his lustful, feelings for his mother Gertrude, while his hate for his uncle Claudius seems to grow deeper.
There are many parallels that we are able to draw from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex. Freud used the Greek myth Oedipus Rex as a means of breaking down the human subconscious. According to Freud, all males suffer from the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex can be defined as the male’s unconscious drive to lust for his mother and the desire to kill his father. Freud believed that there are two opposing forces that exist within all human beings. He said, that the …
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…nes, E. Hamlet and Oedipus, in Bevington, David Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet. New Jersey:Prentice Hall, 1968
Kovesi, Dr S. Lecture handout ‘Hamlet and Psychoanalysis’ 2002
Shakespeare, W. Hamlet The Oxford Shakespeare ed. Olver, H.J Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982
Information regarding Freud’s theory and works taken from website addresses
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Crete/4158 (General information)
http://www.freudpage.com/en-us/freud/psychotheory1.html (Classic Psychoanalytic Theory)
http://www.mii.kurume-u.ac.jp/~leuers/Freud.htmn (Psychoanalytic Theory)
http://www.geocities.com/~mhrowell/ (Psychoanalytic Theory)
http://fox.klte.hu/~keresofi/psychotherapy/index.shtml (Dictionary of Psychoanalytical Terms)
http://www.vuw.ac.nz/psyc/vornikFreud/FRONT.HTM (General information and Psychoanalytic Theory)
The Wrath of Deceit in Hamlet
The Wrath of Deceit in Hamlet
There are many instances in life, where individuals are encouraged to deceive or be dishonest with each other. In a competitive world, people may turn to dishonest means to be successful, especially when the stakes are high. In the world of the Danish court, Hamlet is often a victim of deceit and dishonesty. In turn, this dishonest lifestyle leads Hamlet directly to his ultimate demise. At the beginning of the play, the first act of deception is Old Hamlet’s description of his brother’s treachery. Secondly, Claudius the master of deception seduces Gertrude; by becoming her husband, he cleverly becomes king. Lastly, it is proven that Hamlet himself is not dishonest or deceitful. Claudius admits this to Laertes as they prepare for the sword fight scheme. Hamlet only uses deceit when he is playing the game. The outcome of the play proves that being deceitful and dishonest with people can have tragic results.
The first act of deceitfulness in the game, is the discovery of Claudius’ brutal murder of his brother, Old Hamlet. We see this, when Old Hamlet’s ghost comes back from the afterlife. Hamlet has a suspicious feeling about the ghost’s visitation, “My father’s spirit in arms? All is not well. I doubt some foul play, foul deeds will rise.” (I, ii, 255-259). We later find out, the spirit of Hamlet’s father has come back to explain the circumstances surrounding his tragic death, ” ’tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, a serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark is by a forged process of my death rankly abused.” (1, v, 35-38). Old Hamlet reveals to Hamlet the truth that resulted in his death, “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown.” (1, v, 3…
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…word fight. Hamlet only uses deceit against Claudius to expose him instead of hurting him. In a sense, Claudius’ use of deceit and treachery for his own gain ruined him in the end. Instead of Claudius having a great time as king, he ended up driving Hamlet to kill him. In addition, this proves that the deceitful behavior and lifestyle at court drives Hamlet directly to his ultimate demise.
The outcome of the play proves that a dishonest lifestyle can be detrimental. In the real world, people who are dishonest may excel at first but this behavior will eventually harm them in the end. People should try to have more sincere relationships with each other in order to remain successful, and not use negative means to achieve their goals. This is because deceit distorts your perceptions and it may lead you to loosing what you truly value in your life!