Carl Jung Hamlet Analysis

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Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 1599 and 1602, during the renaissance era. It is classified as a tragedy because most of the main characters of the play, including the protagonist, Hamlet, end up dead in the final scene. This play is about Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, seeking revenge against his Uncle and King of Denmark, Claudius for murdering his father in cold blood to assume the throne, as well a marry his wife, Queen Gertrude. Throughout the play Claudius is visibly guilty over killing his brother and even gives a speech over his misgivings right after the play-within-the-play where he sees a reenactment of his brother murder. Similarly he also feels a deep sense of fear of being discovered as the …show more content…
This lens first originated in the early 1900’s from Austrian psychologist, Sigmund Freud and his theory of the psychodynamic perspective. Freud had a student named Carl Jung who did more research into archetypes of characters. Jung’s research took a wider angle view than Freud’s. He looked how characters were similar overall instead of looking at one particular character. Freudian theory suggests that the unconscious mind controls more of one’s actions and behaviors than most people suspect, that it plays a bigger part in people’s everyday lives than most people notice. Consequently the psychodynamic perspective in psychology focuses on and analyzes the human behaviors that are caused by underlying feelings or emotions and the unconscious processing that goes on behind the scenes. Using this foundation, the psychoanalytic lens is commonly used to analyze how a character 's actions are influenced by his or her previous actions in the book, and interactions with other characters. Dr. De Sousa in Freudian Theory and Consciousness: A Conceptual Analysis, “Unconsciousness may be perceived as entirely composed of, or at least as including some ideas that were not originally conscious but that could become conscious.” This means that unconscious thought can first come up in the unconscious …show more content…
When Polonius goes to hide in Gertrude’s chambers to eavesdrop on her conversation with Hamlet after the play, Claudius is left alone to dwell on his thoughts. During this time he realizes the magnitude of his crime and has a mental breakdown. He laments, “Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven.It hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t, A brother’s murder.” This is the first time in the play that Claudius is seen in actual distress. He is alone on stage so there is no need for him to conceal his guilt as he has done the entire play. In this soliloquy he berates himself for his crime and pleads to God for forgiveness. Since this soliloquy is in the scene right after the play-within-the-play, one can argue that his mental breakdown is direct effect of the combination of seeing his crime reenacted on a stage and realizing that Hamlet knows of his offense. Dr. Mohan Gopinath, in his article, The Role of Guilt in Hamlet: Leadership Implications, writes, “This soliloquy reveals Claudius not only as passionately remorseful – with a heart in no way cauterized by crime – but as so clear-sighted, so pitiless in the analysis of his own offences and of the motives that actuated them that he cannot juggle with his conscience,” referring to the same soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 3. This

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