Please explain the statement below:"The engine that drives the play is a crime commited, in part, for sexual reasons, and the engine that drives Hamlet himself to seek revenge for his crime relates...

Please explain the statement below:

"The engine that drives the play is a crime commited, in part, for sexual reasons, and the engine that drives Hamlet himself to seek revenge for his crime relates to his own sexuality."

Asked on by tamaryn

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misslacey | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

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This statement is suggesting that all major plays (or stories) are based on a major conflict that stems from one character's sexual desires. It is a very Freudian way of looking at literature, but many texts can be examined through this type of critical lens.

There have been many literary critics who have analyzed Shakespeare's character Hamlet this way. One popular claim is that Hamlet has a subconscious, sexual desire for Gertrude, his mother. Now that his father is dead, he feels extreme jealousy toward his uncle, Claudius, who is newly married to Hamlet's mother. This can especially be argued through lines from Act III, Scene iv, when Hamlet berates Gertrude in her bedroom, just after he accidentally stabs Polonius. Hamlet's direct accusations toward his mother are sexually charged:

"..but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love Over the nasty sty,—"

 

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