The Oedipal Relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude
Throughout William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays Hamlet with the same types of behaviors and frustrations in humans that Sigmund Freud saw at a much later date. When the relationship between Hamlet and his mother is analyzed Freud's oedipal complex theory comes to mind.
Sigmund Freud first wrote about his theory in his book An Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. Simply put, Freud states that it is normal for children to have sexual desires for their parent of the opposite sex. He says that it is also normal to have feelings of hatred for the other parent that is of the same sex as the child. Most children experience these feelings between the ages of three and five, after which the feelings go away or in some individuals become deeply suppressed. Those that carry on these feelings into adulthood are considered to have an Oedipus Complex.The oedipal complex is a theory created by Freud that states that "The child takes both of its parents, and more particularly one of them, as the object of its erotic wishes."(51) Because of this desire to be with the parent of the opposite sex, a rivalry is formed with the parent of the same sex. In the play, Hamlet shows great hostility toward his uncle Claudius because his mother's remarriage to him. Hamlet sees his mother's remarriage as disgusting and sees murdering Claudius as a way of freeing his mother of an incestuous marriage as well as avenging his father. Hamlet and his mother's relationship is also shown as more sexual than the traditional mother son relationship because of Hamlet's language and private interaction with his mother, as well as his rivalry toward Claudius for his mother's attentions. This suggests that Shakespeare saw the behavioral characteristics of the oedipal complex in humanity that Freud did and chose to display them through the relationship of Hamlet and his mother.
Hamlet's inner monologues reveal much about what he is...
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