Hamlet’s Incessant Interest in IncestDoes Hamlet possess a subconscious desire to sleep with his mother? The classic play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is subject to analysis with a multitude of the critical lens, such as Marxist, Feminist, and Psychoanalytic. When examining Hamlet with the Psychoanalytic lens, one can uncover the de facto reason why Hamlet fixates on the demise of his father, King Hamlet. Could it perhaps be that Hamlet genuinely has a passionate relationship with his father? The fact that Claudius receives the granting of the throne rather than Hamlet suggests that Hamlet’s grief is a result of losing his opportunity to acquire the throne. Sigmund Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex states that all humans have a subconscious desire to have intercourse with their mother. This theory applies to Hamlet’s situation, considering Hamlet’s acquisition of the throne consists of the replacement of Gertrude’s husband. Hamlet subconsciously displaces his vendetta against Claudius upon his father’s death, to conceal his intention of acquiring the throne to seduce his birth giver.Since “he maintains a strong sexual desire for his mother” Hamlet’s subconscious desire for Gertrude’s intimacy and attention are in competition with King Hamlet prior to the murder(Feibleman 139). Therefore, due to his feelings of discontent toward his father, he must produce artificial insanity to convince others that he is particularly sad about King Hamlet’s death.
Consequently, from the competition with his father, Hamlet does not feel the lamentable emotions that someone in his position experiences. Rather, there is a presence of relief, and cold reactions when his father dies. For instance, when Marcellus and Horatio describe their encounter with the ghost to Hamlet, he simply inquires “Arm’d, say you? /From top to toe? /What, look’d he frowningly?”(I.ii.
227-230). Not only does Hamlet’s tone illustrate an apathetic emotion, but the questions themselves do not convey affection for King Hamlet. One might be skeptical of the ghost’s humanoid appearance; however, this merely troubles Hamlet. This demonstrates that Hamlet does not concern himself with the death of his father, but rather the loss of the opportunity to wed his mother. Freud’s idea of condensation further exemplifies Hamlet’s desire to marry his mother.
Condensation is the amalgamation of multiple emotions or ideas into one. This concept is present in the relationship between Hamlet and King Hamlet’s ghost. Throughout the story, it is ambiguous whether King Hamlet’s ghost is genuine, or merely something Hamlet artificially conceives in his mind. Hamlet exclusively sees the ghost when it presents itself during act three “Nothing at all; yet all that is I see”(III.iv.135). The occurrence of Gertrude not witnessing the ghost suggests that it depicts a portion of Hamlet’s consciousness, as well as a dead man. The idea of a dead man and a psychological element of Hamlet give birth to King Hamlet’s ghost.
Ophelia’s description of Hamlet in act two when she expresses him as “Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other; / And with a look so piteous in purport / As if he had been loosed out of hell” contributes to this idea(II.i.81-83). Hamlet’s ghost-like complexion makes him appear as if he is returning from hell, similar to King Hamlet’s ghost’s description, insinuating that the ghost is merely a reflection of Hamlet’s mind. Ultimately, this means that Hamlet subconsciously conceives the ghost in his mind to justify killing Claudius so he can marry his mother. Claudius speaks to Hamlet’s id, the component of the mind holding intrinsic natural driving impulses, such as the Oedipal complex.
The character of King Hamlet represents Hamlet’s superego and exists to control Hamlet’s id. The presence of the superego in connection with the id is existent in Hamlet as King Hamlet’s ghost encouraging Hamlet to execute Claudius as a respectable demonstration of retaliation. When Hamlet’s id motivations are at their pinnacle as he communicates outrage at his mom for lying down with Claudius the ghost hops in prompting him “Do not forget.
This visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. / But look, amazement on thy mother sits. / O step between her and her fighting soul”(III.iv.111-114).
The ghost reminds Hamlet, to concentrate on disposing of the despicable desires that Hamlet’s id presents. He likewise controls Hamlet’s familial status, which calls for him to be aware of Gertrude, and to not inconvenience her with the sentiments of the blame.In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, it is imperative to investigate the intricacies of Hamlet’s mind. “It would be foolish to argue that Hamlet’s mind can be left out of the play” because it is necessary in order to comprehend that Hamlet’s behavior is a result of his Oedipus complex(Feibleman 136). Hamlet’s id subconsciously motivates him to enact revenge upon Claudius for murdering his father. He produces an illusion of virtue, by attempting to convince himself that his motive for revenge is the demise of his father, but truthfully his motivation is his Oedipus complex for his mother.
Hamlet conceives the existence of King Hamlet’s ghost to justify and disguise killing Claudius, so he can finally satisfy his Oedipus complex for his mother that all males subconsciously possess.