Augusto Gabriel R. Tan
Mr. E. P. Salazar
18 January, 2013
“Oral Fixation: Revenge and Insanity”
Hamlet is known to be one of the most complex characters that Shakespeare has ever written. Hamlet is such an enigmatic character because there is always more to his being than what the other characters in the play can see (Alexander Crawford, Web). Shakespeare was able to create a personality which is emotional, intellectual yet rash and judgmental and shows the change and shift of personality through the entire play. (Amanda Mabillard, Web). But because of unplanned hardships as well as the murder of his father by Claudius which was told to him by his father’s ghost (who tells him to avenge his death), Hamlet must now expose Claudius for what he has done and kill him to avenge his father. But because of this, Hamlet seems to have developed a fixation with killing Claudius, thinking it is the only thing that can give him the satisfaction the he wants. This paper will aim to break down and expose Hamlet’s Oral fixation because he is able to use and manipulate other people with his mask of insanity to achieve his revenge on Claudius and his own personal satisfaction.
II. Psychoanalytic Theory
a. Specific Traits or Parts of the Theory apply to Hamlet
The Psychoanalytic Theory of Sigmund Freud refers to the influence of the subconscious mind on the behavior of a person (Kendra Cherry, Web). In Hamlet, there are many possibilities of Psychoanalysis in the different characters, and mostly in Hamlet himself. The most dominant trait Hamlet suffers from, and the one this paper is arguing for, would be the fixation in the Oral Stage and how this fixation (along with his subconscious) affects his actions. Fixation is the theoretical notion that portions of an individual’s libido have been invested in something and the individual feels a need to acquire or finish whatever he feels need to be accomplished and is caused by frustration, anger, and/or overindulgence. It is associated with a person having a particular conflict that must be resolved (Saul McLeod, Web) or a persistent focus on an earlier psychosexual stage (Kendra Cherry, Web). In the case of Hamlet, the aspect of self-satisfaction from the Oral Stage is exhibited and is seen in his actions and his behavior throughout the play. Everything Hamlet does in the play can be connected with achieving his goal, to kill Claudius. Only by killing Claudius will Hamlet gain satisfaction since revenge which will end his inner-conflict is what he feels, needs to be. Hamlet’s fixation is not affected by his subconscious. This is because his conscious as well as his subconscious are moving forward in parallel lines, not obstructing or interfering with one another, but going towards the same goal, revenge on Claudius (Walter King, Hamlet’s Search for Meaning, 66),
a. Proof of Hamlet’s Fake Madness
In various parts of the play, Hamlet portrays an insane man and does so in such a convincing manner but the fact that he was able to deal with one tragedy after another (the deaths of his loved ones) in Insanity such a rational, intellectual and level headed manner ever during times of calamity or ordeal suggests that he is still sane (Writinghood, Web). Also, someone who has truly gone insane would not be able to engage in such philosophical and moral debates as Hamlet did. Although there are still many moments wherein Hamlet acts and speaks like an insane person in the play yet he only acts this way when he is in the presence of other certain characters; these are the people that he hopes to manipulate with his actions and trick with his fake madness. His way of speaking throughout the rest of the play, when he is alone (soliloquy) or with Horatio, suggests that he is a rational thinking person. There are many moments in the play which support and prove that Hamlet is still sane: “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put...
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