• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12

Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, used Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, in a letter written to Wilhelm Fliess in 1897, as a means to theoretically explain and engage in what he regarded as one of the deepest conflicts experienced by men.

Extracts from this document...


Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, used Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, in a letter written to Wilhelm Fliess in 1897, as a means to theoretically explain and engage in what he regarded as one of the deepest conflicts experienced by men. In Freud's, Mourning and Melancholia and The Interpretation of Dreams, he draws on Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet and its melancholy "hero", Hamlet, in order to substantiate and provide a frame of reference for his theories of mourning, Oedipal desire, and the unconscious. Freud used psychoanalytical criticism as a way to interpret authors, and other artists' work, making connections between the authors themselves and what they actually create. Freud made use of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex in creating and substantiating his own theory of the Oedipus complex. Freud incorporated Sophocles' tragedy into his psychoanalytical theory of Oedipus complex, where a child has the unconscious desire for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite sex, as is exemplified in the Greek myth. The desire includes jealousy towards the parent of the same sex and the unconscious wish for that parent's death. Freud described this stage as usually occurring between the ages of three to five years and as a normal developmental process of human psychological growth. However, Freud believed that Oedipus complex could stay in the unconscious mind and affect the person in adult life. Freud's use of Hamlet as a means of explaining his theory of Oedipal desire eventually replaced his theory of mourning, and resulted in a historic, "permanent linkage of Hamlet with Freud's theory of repression and the family romance"(Starks 161). Freud remade Oedipus Rex and Hamlet, partly in his own image and has influenced us with "Freud's Oedipus" and "Freud's Hamlet". (Shengold 16). Thus, in essence, Freud appropriated Shakespeare's Hamlet, as a means to strengthen psychoanalysis' theoretical ends, without realizing the significant impact this appropriation held in store for the viewers of filmic representations of Shakespeare's Hamlet in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. ...read more.


Celestino Coronado's adaptation of Hamlet (1948), provided a departure from the means by which Olivier filmically represented Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, and may be viewed as a celebration of symbolic and artistic portrayal of Shakespeare's text, through appropriation and presentation of visual elements, supported by the verbal, rather than the other way around. Coronado clearly relies far less on the emphasis and the necessity of the text than Olivier does. Coronado's Hamlet focuses on visceral appeal, symbolism and the expected interpretation of the viewer, rather than clearly delineating thematic trends for the viewer through the use of the spoken text. Coronado's film may be viewed as an "interactive", artistic representation of Hamlet's divided self and the fluctuations of feelings Hamlet is portrayed as experiencing through identical twins, David and Anthony Meyer, playing Hamlet. Interestingly, Coronado's Hamlet does not include the famous "To be or not to be" soliloquy within the film, other than a small section of the soliloquy used in the opening sequence of the film, perhaps stressing the director's point that although this text, verbally spoken through the medium of an actor playing Hamlet, in a dramatic performance, may form the pivotal core of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, it is not necessarily essential within Coronado's visual, filmic representation and depiction of Hamlet in creating and encouraging the notions, philosophies and themes contained within this soliloquy for the viewer. Coronado captures and emphasises a unique mind/body distinction by highlighting actors' physical form through the use of nudity, posture and movement, as well as through various camera techniques and illusions, and creates a link with the psychological through especially the eyes and the visual representation of symbolism, visual references to Shakespeare's text and an overt orientation within the psychoanalytic tradition. Coronado emphasises the sexual, the psychological, the portentous presence of Oedipal desire and the unconscious, by consciously portraying imagery for the audience to interact with and interpret according to themes, which are suggested and nurtured by him. ...read more.


Hamlet functioning as signifiers and various other factors attributing to the way in which a film is interpreted and viewed by an audience. It becomes evident that with time and the change necessarily of context, that meanings attached to signifiers, specifically related to sexuality and sexual innuendo have remained fairly constant, regardless of whether they have gained a more overt and explicit portrayal. In fact, it may be argued that the imagination, stimulated by suggestive themes and signifiers, such as the use of eyes signifying hierarchy and power differentials, music and symbolism, created and filmically presented by directors, creates a far greater impact on the senses of viewers and their individual insights into the meanings attached to these signifiers, based on individual experience and knowledge of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Freud's footprints may wind endlessly throughout the filmic representations of Hamlet by the directors discussed, but Hamlet's psyche, unconscious and motivations for the actions he pursues, as well as those he does not, shall always remain the "property" and appropriation of William Shakespeare, a gift granted to the world of literature and drama, later to be appropriated and represented by the work of psychologists, psychiatrists, authors, artists, stage directors and film directors of the twentieth century and centuries to follow. REFERENCE LIST Kurzweil, E. & Phillips, W. Literature and Psychoanalysis. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. 4, 36. McCary, W. Hamlet: A Guide to the Play. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1998. 135. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Philip Edwards. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Shengold, L. "Our Freud." Psychoanalytic Quarterly 62. (1993): 16. Starks, L.S. "The displaced body of desire: Sexuality in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet". Shakespeare and Appropriation. Eds. Desmet, C. & Sawyer, R. London: Routledge, 1999. 160-161, 164, 166, 169-170. Weller, P. "Freud's Footprints in Films of Hamlet". Literature Film Quarterly 25.2 (1997): 120. FILMOGRAPHY Hamlet. Dir Celestino Coronado. Dangerous Curves, 1973. Hamlet. Dir Laurence Olivier. Two Cities Films, 1948. The Crow. Dir Alex Proyas. Miramax Films, 1994. Hamlet. Dir Franco Zeffirelli. Warner Bros., 1991. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Hamlet Film and Play Comparison. Zeffirelli made some changes in Hamlet that do ...

    3 star(s)

    Because of this, Hamlet emerges as a more aggressive and active character in the movie. While the movie plot line stays the same, by eliminating Hamlet's Hecuba soliloquy from the movie, the audience is oblivious to Hamlet's uncertainty and unconfidence and instead getting the impression that Hamlet is a bold and frisky character.

  2. Discuss the dramatic significance of act one scene one of hamlet.

    -Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio. -Looks it not like the king? -Most like - It harrows me with fear and wonder. -Question it, Horatio. " This generates a lot of tension as the characters are expressing their anxiety through the construction of there sentences.

  1. Mighty opposites; Hamlet and Claudius.

    Hamlet dwells on his mother's sex life, which is completely inappropriate. Claudius is also obsessed by Gertrude, 'my sweet queen', as one of the reasons he murdered Old Hamlet could possibly be that he wanted to be with her. This contrasts with his court speech where he expresses grief for his brother's death.

  2. Is Gertrude an innocent victim or a sexually and morally corrupt woman?

    she has no knowledge that the madness is pretence; this could show that she does not really know her son, because she cannot distinguish his real personality from the false.

  1. Claudius soliloquy Hamlet

    supports this as it reflects his 2 possible options of waiting until he dies, therefore, receiving his punishment in the afterlife or to admit his crime which possibly ends in execution but to receive redemption from god. Moreover, his inability to arrive with the answer is also shown by the sentence "this two fold force."

  2. How does Shakespeare portray changes in Hamlets character in soliloquy one and four

    I think this is motivation for Hamlet to avenge his father's death. Shakespeare uses a comparison by comparing Gertrude and Niobe. He compares the tears that they shed to allow us to imagine her mourning. But later Hamlet tells us that "a beast would have mourn'd longer" which implies that her tears were false.

  1. An analysis of the soliloquy in Hamlet

    Finally the 'catastrophe' at then end of the play is when the royal household are dead and Fortinbras reigns. Revenge tragedy often includes a hesitating revenger, a ghost, a villain, complex plots, madness, murders, characters of noble birth, physical horrors such as poisoning, a play within a play; all of which can be applied to Hamlet.

  2. Compare and contrast how Shakespeare and Marlowe explore attitudes to death and the afterlife ...

    Hamlet is shocked by how quickly his mother, forget about his dead father and by the "most wicked speed" in which they married, yet Faustus understands that we are quickly forgotten in death and so he commits himself to

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work