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Many directors on both stage and screen have dramatised Act III Scene IV of Hamlet with Freud's Oedipus complex in mind. With detailed reference to this scene and the play as a whole, discuss how valid this interpretation is. How much scope is there for

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Introduction

Many directors on both stage and screen have dramatised Act III Scene IV of Hamlet with Freud's Oedipus complex in mind. With detailed reference to this scene and the play as a whole, discuss how valid this interpretation is. How much scope is there for presenting ActIII Scene IV on other ways? Psychoanalytical criticism, developed by Freud, is a way to interpret authors, and other artists' work, making connections between the authors themselves and what they actually create. The Oedipus complex is a psychoanalytical theory where a child has the unconscious desire for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite sex. The desire includes jealousy towards the parent of the same sex and the unconscious wish for that parent's death. It usually occurs between the ages of three to five and is a normal developmental process of human psychological growth. The stage is usually ended when the child identifies with the parent of the same sex and represses its sexual instincts. Freud believed that all people experienced the Oedipus complex but many researchers in psychoanalysis believe it develops as a result of a person's environment and does not occur in everyone. Freud believed the complex could stay in the unconscious mind and affect the person in adult life.? ...read more.

Middle

He talks to himself about it straight after Claudius and the rest of the court have left 'She married -O most wicked speed!' (I, II, 156) but it is still directed at Gertrude not Claudius because unconsciously he can't blame him. And throughout the whole play he never says anything about, or to Claudius, being 'incestuous' for marrying his brother's wife. After Hamlet sees the ghost of his father and is told by it to take revenge for his murder, Hamlet pretends to be mad, unconsciously, to delay killing Claudius. The Oedipal complex explains why Hamlet delays killing him and is unable to take direct action, through out the whole play. Claudius has coincidentally fulfilled Hamlets unconscious fantasies. After the 'Mousetrap' play is performed and Hamlet knows for sure that Claudius is guilty of his father's murder, he still doesn't take action, but chats with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, 'O, the recorders. Let me see one.' (III, II, 36). He doesn't realise he is doing this, and so won't think that Claudius will stop him from telling people - and he does. He sends Hamlet to England. Before Hamlet pretends to be mad, he is deeply in love with Ophelia, 'I did love you once' (III, I, 115). ...read more.

Conclusion

This leads to the confrontation with his mother, where he shows his dislike for their marriage, 'Mother, you have my father much offended' (III, IV, 9), and where he warns her to stay away from Claudius 'But go not to my uncle's bed' (III, IV, 161). He is so angry he has no hesitation in killing the person behind the arras, especially as he thinks it's the king. The play can be presented at face value, simply as a story of revenge as it would have done at the time it was written. I think the Oedipus complex is a valid interpretation of the text when psychoanalysed and can be performed well with the theory in mind, but it is a twentieth century interpretation. In the seventeenth century when it was performed, it would have been written to be performed as entertainment. The performers would of performed it to entertain the audience and the audience would of understood it as it was performed, not my looking into the text and looking for deeper meanings. ? World Book? ? 1999 World Books, Inc. ?1999-2000 Britannica.com and Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. J.A. Cuddon, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, London 1991, p.356. ? Frances Zeffirelli, dir, Hamlet, USA, 1990 ? Laurence Olivier, dir, Hamlet, GB, 1948 ? Kenneth Brannagh, dir, Hamlet, GB, 1996 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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