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Hankins 1

David Hankins
Composition 1
Clifford Katskee
June 10, 2009

In the essay Hamlets Oedipus Complex by Ernest Jones, Jones presents the
idea that Hamlet has the Oedipus complex. The Oedipus complex was named so by
Freud after Oedipus who killed his father and married his mother (Oedipus complex).
Jones believes that Hamlet is angry with the thought of his father being replaced in his
mothers affections by someone else (Jones 672). There are many examples
throughout the text that argue against this essay. Hamlets actions can be shown by
motherly love, a strong belief in an afterlife, and revenge upon a fathers life.
Hamlet did not have a relationship with his mother Gertrude that was anything
more then what is typical between a mother and a son. Jones believed that Gertrude
had a, passionate fondness for her son. (The Oedipus-complex as an explination of
Hamlet's mystery: A Study in Motive). Two months after the death of Hamlets father,
Gertrude remarries Claudius, King Hamlets brother, and disowns Hamlet. It seems that
Gertrude is under a spell and doesnt realize what is going on. It is Hamlet who
awakens his mother from her spell to realize the damage everything has caused to the
family. After these things happen Gertrude becomes almost a different person and she
sees Hamlet as her flesh again, taking a drink of poison to protect Hamlet in the end.

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All the characters of Hamlet had strong beliefs in an afterlife. Hamlet was told to
leave his mother alone so she will pay for her sins. If she is killed she will go to heaven
instead of where she rightfully belongs. Claudius needs to be killed for what he did to
Hamlets father but only in a way that will send him to a place other then heaven.
Hamlet delayed killing Claudius in one scene because he was down praying and if he
was killed then he would go to heaven. Hamlet draws his sword to attack but ends up
putting it away. Hamlet must pick his chance to kill Claudius to be sure he goes to hell.
Hamlet feels he must get back at Claudius by way of revenge for his father. No
one else knows that Claudius killed King Hamlet to take the thrown and his wife. Hamlet
comes across Claudius kneeling to pray Hamlet draws his sword to attack then says,
Why this is hire and salary, not revenge (Skakespeare 3.3.79). Hamlet kills Claudius in
the end in a act of revenge for not just his fathers death, but also the death of his
mother Gertrude and Hamlets own.
Hamlet was not suffering from Oedipus Complex, just a thought of revenge for
his fathers death. If revenge is a mental disorder, then I guess we all suffer from that
from time to time.

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Works Cited
Jones, Ernest. "Hamlet's Oedipus Complex." Madden, Frank. Exploring Literature. New
York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. 671-673.
Oedipus complex. "New World Encyclopedia." 29 August 2008. 8 June 2009
<http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Oedipus_complex?oldid=794942.>.
Skakespeare, William. "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Madden, Frank. Exploring
Literature. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2009. 539-663.
"The Oedipus-complex as an explination of Hamlet's mystery: A Study in Motive." The
American Journal of Psychology (1910): 72-113.