How can I relate the concept of self and psyche in Hamlet to a modern concern? (like a modern day issue)Thanks so much in advance.How can I relate the concept of self and psyche in Hamlet to a...

How can I relate the concept of self and psyche in Hamlet to a modern concern? (like a modern day issue)Thanks so much in advance.

How can I relate the concept of self and psyche in Hamlet to a modern concern? (like a modern day issue)

Thanks so much in advance.

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ms-charleston-yawp's profile pic

Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

How about the concept of vengeance in today's society? ... and exactly how much a son/daughter is required to do to avenge a death or even a beating?  How about those instances when a citizen takes the law into his/her own hands?  This is soooo very sad, but I was just thinking about a song by the Dixie Chicks called "Goodbye Earl."  LOVE that song.  Listen to how it has to do with vengeance.  The gal comes back to help her friend who was beaten to a pulp by her husband.  They sing the following:

And it didn't take long to decide
That Earl had to die
Goodbye Earl
Those black-eyed peas
They tasted all right to me Earl
You're feeling weak
Why don't you lay down
and sleep Earl
Ain't it dark
Wrapped up in that tarp Earl

So, in light of this humorous song about an intensely serious subject, ... it might be fun to compare vengeance in Hamlet to the vengeance in our own society in regards to domestic violence.  Where does ethics come in?  Where should the line be drawn?  How have Hamlet and/or domestic violence victims that commit violence themselves strayed from the law? ... or are their actions that of self defense?

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

What makes this play such a classic is that while it would rare that anyone would be charged by a ghost to avenge the murder of one's father, it is not at all unlikely that a person would find themselves in a position of having to do something they don't really feel confident in doing, feel thwarted in doing, and/or over-think the doing of the act.  Hamlet tells Horatio that he admires the man who has a balance of "blood and judgement" and that is where you can find modern connections to this play.  Any time a person has to find a balance between what the mind says and what the heart/emotion says you have a connection to Hamlet and his psyche and self.

Here are a couple of examples:

A person is offered a dream job, but for less pay than they currently receive.  Does the person take the job (let heart win) or stay with financial practicality (let mind win).

A person is asked to do something that might be considered a little shady, like embellish the work history of a friend who needs a reference.  Does he do it (let heart win)? Or do they say no, fail their friend, and let mind and morality win?

 

 

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