Psychoanalysis of Oedipus Complex and Id, Ego and Super-Ego on “Hamlet”

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“Hamlet” by William Shakespeare has become an object of literary analysis until today since the very first publication of it. Hamlet’s hesitations over fulfilling the task of revenging on his father’s murderer that is assigned to him remains one of the most mysterious and controversial issues in Shakespeare’s play. Literacy critics gradually come to realize the psychoanalytical implications of Hamlet’s relationships with the world. Psychoanalytic theories and concepts have the possibility of helping readers’ understanding of Hamlet, his character and meaning. The application and reflection of Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories in Hamlet’s character can be found in his works easily. It would be fair to mention that the character of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play is a literary reflection of the Oedipus complex. Due to the reason that he lacks of ability to overcome Oedipus complex in himself, hence Hamlet fails to fulfill his mission and faces the tragic downfall in the end. Not only that, Freud’s psychoanalytic theories on Id, Ego and Super-Ego also can be applied on Hamlet’s character. According to it, the Id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the Ego is the organized, realistic part; and the Super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role. Hamlet is torn between his Super-Ego and his Id. His delay in taking revenge is the effect of being pulled by his own Super-Ego as a good angel and his own Id as a bad angel at the same time. The Oedipus complex that holds a person “is inhibited by unconscious guilt over his patricidal and incestuous wishes, which in part also explains his melancholia”, is an ideal tool of literary analysis for Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”.(Bennett Simon, 2001) Shakespeare confirms that Hamlet is influenced by the inner pro-oedipal ambivalences about his fickle mother throughout his play.(David Leverenz, 1978) In my opinion, Hamlet’s

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