The first mention of “nothing” is in a conversation between Rosencrantz and Young Hamlet. Young Hamlet explains to Rosencrantz why he feels Denmark is a prison, “Why then ‘tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so; to me it is a prison.”(2.2. 246) King Hamlet believes that Claudius killed him to take his throne. Young Hamlet’s father is in a “prison.” Therefore, Shakespeare suspends King Hamlet in a place somewhere between a living being and heaven; he walks the earth as an apparition. The Hamlets think it and therefore to them “it is so.” Both Hamlets have lost their thrones and now seek revenge. Likewise, both King Hamlet and Young Hamlet have thought their perceptions into reality.
The next time “nothing” appears, Young Hamlet is referring to a player’s ability to falsify anxiety. Young Hamlet exclaims surprisedly that the actor can emote such anguish out of “nothing.”
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
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… New Cambridge Shakespeare edn, edited by Philip Edwards. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vickers, Brian. 1993. Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels. New Haven and London: Yale University Press.
Watson, Robert N. 1990. ‘Giving up the Ghost in a World of Decay: Hamlet, Revenge and Denial.’ Renaissance Drama 21:199-223.
Wright, George T. 1981. ‘Hendiadys and Hamlet.’ PMLA 96:168-193.
Shakespeare, William. The Tradegy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark. New York: Washington Square Press, 1992
Weiten, Wayne. Psychology: Themes and Variations, Fourth Editon. Boston: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1998
Fowler, Alastair. 1987. ‘The Plays Within the Play of Hamlet.’ In ‘Fanned and Winnowed Opinions’: Shakespearean Essays Presented to Harold Jenkins, edited by John W. Mahon and Thomas A. Pendleton. London and New York: Methuen.
A Freudian Perspective of Shakespeare’s Macbeth
Macbeth: A Freudian Perspective
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth We may take as an example of a person who collapses on reaching success, after striving for it with single-minded energy, the figure of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Beforehand there is no hesitation, no sign of any internal conflict in her, no endeavour but that of overcoming the scruples of her ambitious and yet tender-minded husband. She is ready to sacrifice even her womanliness to her murderous intention, without reflecting on the decisive part which this womanliness must play when the question afterwards arises of preserving the aim of her ambition, which has been attained through a crime.
Analytic work has no difficulty in showing us that it is forces of conscience which forbid the subject to gain the long-hoped-for advantage from the fortunate change in reality. It is a difficult task, however, to discover the essence and origin of these judging and punishing trends, which so often surprise us by their existence where we do not expect to find them. For the usual reasons I shall not discuss what we know or conjecture on the point in relation to cases of clinical observation, but in relation to figures which great writers have created from the wealth of their knowledge of the mind.
We may take as an example of a person who collapses on reaching success, after striving for it with single-minded energy, the figure of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Beforehand there is no hesitation, no sign of any internal conflict in her, no endeavour but that of overcoming the scruples of her ambitious and yet tender-minded husband. She is ready to sacrifice even her womanliness to her murderous intention, without reflecting on the decisive part which this womanl…
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… Die Braut von Messina, III v. Strachey and Tyson (eds.).
Cf. Macbeth, Act III, sc. I:
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,
And put a barren sceptre in my gripe,
Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand,
No son of mine succeeding …
As is Richard III’s wooing of Anne beside the bier of the King whom he has murdered.
Freud had already suggested this in the first edition of The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), Standard Edition, IV 266. Strachey and Tyson (eds.).
This does not appear to have been published. In a later paper on Macbeth Jekels (1917) barely refers to this theory, apart from quoting the present paragraph. In a still later paper, on The Psychology of Comedy, Jekels (1926) returns to the subject, but again very briefly. Strachey and Tyson (eds.).