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Find the text in Hamlet which verifies that Hamlet has an Oedipus Complex"Hamlet" by...

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localseabird | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 7, 2010 at 4:52 PM via web

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Find the text in Hamlet which verifies that Hamlet has an Oedipus Complex

"Hamlet" by William Shakespeare

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 7, 2010 at 5:39 PM (Answer #1)

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In "Hamlet" the Prince of Denmark is greatly disturbed that his mother has married his uncle, especially after having learned from his father's ghost that Claudius is the murderer of the King.  Because Hamlet displays excessive emotion, his mother, Gertrude, attributes his feelings to "His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage" (II,ii,56).  In Act III, when Hamlet confronts his mother, he berates her so severely that many critics feels there is more than a normal mother/son relationship between the two as Hamlet questions his mother on how she could stand to let Claudius toucher her,  chastising her for her lust:

You cannot call it love, for at your age/The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,/And waits upon the judgments, and what judgment /Would step from this to this?....Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thralled/But it reserved some quantity of choice/To serve in such a difference. What devil was't/That thus hath cozened you at hoodman-blind? (III,iv,69-78)

Nay, but to live/In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,/Stewed in curruption, honeying and making love/Over the nasty sty--I(II,iv,91-94)

There is no text, however, that verifies that Hamlet has an Oedipal Complex.  For, Hamlet as Oedipal is one interpretation of his character and is dependent upon the inferences made from certain passages in the play.

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mmt | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM (Answer #2)

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I think that you've a very good answer. However,I think that there may be a refrence that Hamlet has an Oedipal complex.From the very beginning,we find Hamlet very angry for the rapid marriage of his mother. One can say that this anger is a result of his sadness for the death of his father. However, in Hamlet's first soliloquy he comments on this marriage saying" Omost wicked speed:to post/With such dexterity to incestious sheets/It is not, nor cannot come to good". Thus Hamlet describes the relation between his mother and her husband,his uncle,as "incestious" ,and this statement comes even before he meets the ghost of his murdered father.

I hope this would help you.

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