Unofficial Quiz We will do this at the end of the hour if we have enough time.
Outlines Most of you need to do more research before you can write your full draft. Be sure to look at the excellent bibliography in the back of your Bevington anthology. It is often a good idea, somewhere early in the paper, to refer to previous criticism. Doing so allows you to chart your own course. Now until the end of the semester is a good time to set up an appointment to go over your work in progress.
Review The point that unifies the three soliloquies that you considered last time is that Hamlet is not a conventional revenge figure because he is aware of the theological context of his actions, especially consequences in the afterlife. His thinking is partly what makes him hesitate.
Hamlet’s Fourth Soliloquy: 4.4.33-67 It is framed by resolution for revenge. At the opening, the motivation for revenge comes from without (“occasions” spur him). By the end of the soliloquy, the motivation is internal; he has talked himself into it. The talk of humans’ bestial nature and reason echoes his soliloquy at 1.2.129-59. Reason sets us apart from the beasts, but we must use it. He comments directly on his inaction, identifying his thinking (“some craven scruple / Of thinking too precisely on th’ event”) as a cause of his hesitation. He states that he has “cause, and will, and strength, and a means / To do ’t.” Then he notes that Fortinbras is his foil: Fortinbras and other soldiers take great risks for honor, even when the stakes are very low (“an eggshell,” “a straw”). In contrast, Hamlet has really good reasons to act but does nothing, just as he earlier has great emotion but cannot express it. Therefore, Hamlet will now steel himself: “O, from this time forth / My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!” Now his motivation is from within.
Today’s Topics Three strands of psychology relevant to Hamlet’s situation: –Elizabethan psychology –Freudian psychoanalysis –Jungian psychology Main point: Psychology adds another dimension to Hamlet’s uncertainty and hesitation.
Elizabethan Psychology What is up with this passage? –1.5.107-09: “my tables”? –Embedded cue. –What is Hamlet’s point here? –Cf. 1.2.177. –Brains: 1.5.104, 2.2.358, 2.2.588, 3.1.177, 3.4.143, 4.1.11, 5.2.30
Chart Being a contemplation inability to student melancholy act; hesitation POINT: A life of contemplation makes Hamlet ill-suited for the decisive action that the ghost demands (U of M story). REASON: He is too concerned with the consequences of his actions (cf. the way he considers the consequences of suicide and of dispatching Claudius during prayer). Excellent source on melancholy: Lawrence Babb, The Elizabethan Malady.
Foils Hamlet is very much unlike Laertes and Fortinbras, both of whom act much more decisively. As we have pointed out before, Laertes is a more conventional avenger than Hamlet: –4.5.133ff.: pact with dark forces –4.7.127: throat cutting in the church POINT: Laertes shares Hamlet’s awareness of revenge’s theological context, but unlike Hamlet he doesn’t care about consequences in the afterlife.
Being a Student Being an unconventional revenge figure is not conducive to action, but there is more. Study itself leads to melancholy, which also makes action difficult. Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy: “study weakens [scholars’] bodies, dulls their spirits, abates their strength and courage; and good scholars are never good soldiers” (I.2.3.15). Hamlet’s melancholy is our first major topic for today.
Analogy Chart, First Slide OIL REFINERY Propane Gasoline Kerosene Diesel Lubricants Semi-solids Top: Lightest and most volatile Bottom: Heaviest and least volatile
Analogy Chart, Second Slide: See Bedford 254-55 and 279 Hot and dry—choler (choleric): fire Hot and moist—blood (sanguine): air Cold and moist—phlegm (phlegmatic): water Cold and dry—black bile (melancholy): earth; a.k.a. the scholars’ disease WHAT CHARACTER WHOM WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED CORRESPONDS TO EACH OF THE PERSONALITY TYPES IN THE OPPOSITE COLUMN? TAKE A MOMENT TO WRITE YOUR ANSWER IN YOUR NOTEBOOK.
Answers Hot and dry—choler (choleric) Hot and moist—blood (sanguine) Cold and moist— phlegm (phlegmatic) Cold and dry—black bile (melancholy): a.k.a. the scholars’ disease Hotspur (fire) Falstaff (air) Antonio (water) Hamlet (earth)
Points: The mixture of elements determines your personality. Dürer’s Melancholy (FYI, if you are interested in checking it out on your own): http://www.alchemylab.com/melancholia.htm http://www.alchemylab.com/melancholia.htm Lady Melancholy is melancholy because the mind’s eye exceeds the hand’s execution, and so with Hamlet: he can conceive of revenge; he just cannot do it.
Examples of Hamlet’s Melancholy 1.2.133-34: lethargy (“How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!”). 2.2.296: joylessness (“I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my mirth,” etc.). 2.2.566-69 and 598-604: cannot express his feelings, though he feels greatly, and is subject to demon affliction; melancholy makes the ghost’s identity dubious.
Other Characteristics (from Babb) Brooding Despondency Suicidal impulses Cynical satire Mood swings Fits and starts of rash activity (like stabbing Polonius)
Points Hamlet obviously has some of these characteristics, but he is also playing the role of a nut job: –1.5.181: “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet / To put an antic disposition on.” –2.2.378: “I am but mad north-north-west” (i.e., only partly). –3.4.194-95: “I essentially am not in madness, / But mad in craft.” –POINT: There’s method in his madness. Still, Hamlet’s soliloquies reveal genuine melancholy characteristics. It’s as if setting out to PLAY the melancholy man gives him an opportunity to manifest some genuine feelings of melancholy.
How do you cure melancholy? Remember: Hamlet is a student, he has lost the throne, his dad is dead, and his girlfriend is probably pregnant: all good reasons to be bummed out. 3.1.165-77: The king proposes a cure: “Haply the seas and countries different / With variable objects shall expel / This something-settled matter in his heart....” Typical cures: –Taking the air, travel, change of scene –Stress reduction –Analogy: going to Miami beach for spring break
Does it work? 5.2.220: “the readiness is all” (Zen-like). Something about Hamlet’s sea voyage transforms him. Sea change: wimpologist man of action (epic hero?). See James Funk’s article, pages 13-14.
The Second Strand of Psychology Freudian Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis Major source: Ernest Jones, Hamlet and Oedipus. Major principles of the Oedipus Complex: –Hatred of the father. –Love of the mother. –The boy represses these feelings into his unconscious mind, which leads to the development of the superego and the further hesitation to act on the repressed urges.
Writing in Class Those on my left: List fathers and father figures. Those on my right: List sons or son figures.
Chart Fathers and Father Figures Ghost Claudius Polonius Old Fortinbras Fortinbras’s uncle Priam Player king Jephthah (2.2.403) Sons and Son Figures Hamlet Laertes Fortinbras Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Lucianus Pyrrhus/Neoptolemus Horatio Claudius
Digression/Footnote A “Pyrrhic victory” has nothing to do with this Pyrrhus. Here is the definition in The American Heritage Dictionary: “A victory that is offset by staggering losses. [From the victory of Pyrrhus (319- 272 B.C.), king of Epirus, over the Romans at Asculum in 279 B.C.]”
Question How many mothers and mother figures are there?
Answer Gertrude, Hecuba, and the player queen Of these, only Gertrude is an actual character in Hamlet.
Points Remember, of course, that there were no female actors in Shakespeare’s day. (Women began to act on stage in 1660, the start of the period known as the Restoration.) Fatherhood is dispersed among a number of characters; therefore, the Oedipal hatred finds multiple objects. Hostility toward the father is reflected in the proliferation of father figures. Motherhood is centered on one character: Gertrude. The Oedipal love is intensely focused because it is exclusively focused. Condensation of the mother into one figure suggests the intensity of love of the mother.
But wait: there’s more! Claudius is both a father figure to Hamlet and a son figure to King Hamlet (cf. Oliver in AYLI). As a son figure, Claudius has done the thing that Hamlet wishes to do (kill his father) but has repressed into his unconscious mind, the result being the superego. Mentally, Hamlet has committed the same crime. How, then, can he punish Claudius for doing the thing that he himself wanted to do? So he delays. In other words, Claudius is a father figure to Hamlet (“I am too much in the sun,” he puns at 1.2.67). He doesn’t kill Claudius because doing so is too close to the taboo Oedipal act of father killing—the desire for which Hamlet has repressed into his unconscious mind. Again, Hamlet’s superego is very strong.
Another Possibility Maybe Claudius is Hamlet’s biological father. Maybe if he kills Claudius, he kills his REAL FATHER! There is no evidence of this, but it is not impossible. In this case, killing Claudius would equal acting out the repressed Oedipal fantasy. What Hamlet does instead: The Pyrrhus stuff in 2.2 is a Freudian “act of compromise”: like Hal’s decision to reject Falstaff rather than his father. And a further remove: “One speech in ’t I chiefly loved: ’twas Aeneas’ tale to Dido, and thereabout of it especially when he speaks of Priam’s slaughter” (2.2.445-48).
Summary of Key Points Hamlet’s melancholy leads to uncertainty and hesitation. The conflict between Hamlet’s Oedipal feelings and his superego leads to hesitation.
Jungian Psychology--Typology Introversion (I) vs. extroversion Intuition (N) vs. sensing Thinking (T) vs. feeling Perceiving (P) vs. judging
Hamlet vs. Gertrude Hamlet Thinking Introversion Gertrude Feeling Extroversion
INTP INTP: Introverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (Introverted Thinking with Extroverted Intuition) “INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the "absent-minded professors", who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding” (emphases added). http://www.personalitypage.com/INTP.html
Jungian Psychology--Projection Characters represent parts of Hamlet’s psyche: –Ophelia = rejected anima (this leads to negative anima, as in the references to prostitution) –Laertes = the shadow –Polonius = father, fool, scapegoat –Rosencrantz & Guildenstern = tricksters –Horatio = reason –Gertrude = the terrible mother –Ghost = the warrior father or the racial father (connection to instinct) –Claudius = shadow of King Hamlet –Fortinbras = the warrior
Jung’s “Stages of Eroticism” Sophia (wisdom)—NA Mary (mother)--Gertrude Eve (wife)—Ophelia? Helen (whore)—Gertrude, Ophelia, next slide Note: Jung associates Mary with religious feeling and considers Eve to represent the wife. The above is my reinterpretation of his stages.
References to Prostitution Whoring: 2.2.586 & 5.2.64 Brothel: 2.1.63 “the harlot”: 4.5.122 “harlot’s cheek”: 3.1.52 Bawds and bawdry: 1.3.131, 2.2.500, & 3.1.113 “drab”: 2.2.587 Nunnery: 3.1.122 (next slide) Fishmonger (pimp): 2.2.174 R & G as whores: 5.2.57 Fortune = strumpet (2.2.235-36) Gertrude is “stewed in corruption” (3.4.94).
Nunneries The Catholic church had once been involved in prostitution. “Nunnery” was slang for “brothel.” So when Hamlet urges Ophelia, “Get thee to a nunnery,” he is either urging her to enter a convent, calling her a whore, or both.
Jung on the Anima Compensation: “Intellect and feeling... conflict with one another by definition. Whoever identifies with an intellectual standpoint will occasionally find his feeling confronting him like an enemy in the guise of the anima” (CW 9ii, par. 58). Dissociation: The “man who identifies himself absolutely with his reason and his spirituality... is in danger of becoming dissociated from his anima and thus losing touch altogether with the compensating powers of the unconscious. In a case like this the unconscious usually responds with violent emotions, irritability, lack of control, arrogance, feelings of inferiority, moods, depressions, outbursts of rage, etc., coupled with lack of self- criticism and the misjudgments, mistakes, and delusions which this entails” (CW 13, par. 454). Conclusion: “And since the opposite of male scholarship is female whoredom, negative anima manifests in his consciousness in a profusion of references to prostitution” (Fike 131). In other words, Hamlet’s anima is a whore (the Helen type), and it colors his world through projection. He has a twisted idea of the feminine, and he sees it everywhere.
Possible Jungian Interpretations Shadow:“apprentice piece”::anima:“master piece,” Jung says. A man must do shadow work before he can have a successful contra-sexual relationship. The sea voyage furthers Hamlet’s psychic integration (the individuation process): his encounter with the pirates = an encounter with his own shadow.
Hamlet’s Letter Discuss 4.6.13ff. What do Hamlet’s remarks tell us?
More on Shadow Work The fight with Laertes in the graveyard also represents acknowledgement of Hamlet’s shadow. See next slide.
The Graveyard Scene A probably too-optimistic reading by Elizabeth Oakes: “Hamlet can leap into Ophelia’s grave and emerge, an action that not only graphically illustrates his rebirth but also foreshadows his spirit’s victory over death at the end of the play” (112). See 5.1.246ff.
My Take “The only trouble here is that it is her brother Laertes, rather than erstwhile suitor Hamlet, who leaps into Ophelia’s grave. Regarding this detail, there is wishful thinking afoot among the play’s Jungian critics. Rogers-Gardner also claims that Hamlet jumps into Ophelia’s grave (14), and Porterfield has Hamlet leap into it with Laertes (94). The stage directions have Laertes grapple with Hamlet a few lines later and do not say whether Laertes leaps out of the grave or whether Hamlet leaps in. Although directorial license permits Hamlet to join Laertes in Ophelia’s grave, the text does not support this interpretation. Instead Hamlet’s statement—that Laertes attempts “To outface me with leaping in her grave”—suggests that he himself does not do so (5.1.280). As a result, a statement about Hamlet’s grave-leaping in connection with symbolic rebirth is simply not accurate.” (emphasis added) --Dr. Fike
Conclusions Hamlet’s anima does not “die.” But Ophelia’s death ends the possibility of properly integrating his feminine side. Hamlet does do a lot of work with his shadow, but he runs out of time and does not integrate his anima.
Next Topic: 3.4.182: “That I must be their scourge and minister.” Source: Fredson Bowers, “Hamlet as Minister and Scourge.” PMLA 70.4, part 1 (1955): 740-49. A scourge avenges, inflicts punishment, and is guilty himself; this type of revenge is private. For example, Samuel L. Jackson’s character in A Time To Kill. A minister avenges but is innocent: this revenge is public. See Romans 13:4: “the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer.” Example: trying to assassinate Hitler or Saddam.
What about Hamlet? He is supposed to be a minister. “Taint not thy mind,” advises the Ghost (1.5.86). Hamlet should avoid sin in the process of taking revenge. But he messes up by killing Polonius, which is murder in the first degree, even though he kills the wrong man. As a result, the Elizabethan audience would now be certain that Hamlet must die. Note: When Claudius writes to the King of England, asking him to kill Hamlet, the request could be understood as follows: “Please dispatch this murderer for me.”
Point The Ghost’s order marks Hamlet as a minister. Taking action on his own (killing Polonius) makes him a scourge. He must now do what he should have done in the first place: wait for God to provide an opportunity to take action appropriately. Does he get it right? Yes: –5.2.217: “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how we will—” –5.2.220: “The readiness is all.”
What Causes the Change? The sea voyage: –He uses his father’s signet to get Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed. –He gets the pirates to help him get back to Denmark. –The voyage transforms him from being a man who either cannot act or acts too rashly to being a man who waits for God to provide an opportunity (“The readiness is all” [5.2.220]). –Concept: “sea change”
Does the Opportunity Come? Yes, Hamlet finally has proof of Claudius’s guilt—the poisoned wine and swords. He kills Claudius but not because of the ghost’s account. HE KILLS CLAUDIUS BECAUSE THERE IS PROOF THAT HE IS BEHIND THE POISON. A complicating factor (a final reason for Hamlet’s hesitation) is that he was supposed to avoid doing anything to harm his mother (“nor let thy soul contrive / Against thy mother aught,” says the Ghost at 1.5 86-87). Killing Claudius would mean harming Gertrude. In other words, the Ghost’s order contains contradictions. Therefore, Hamlet delays. BUT once Gertrude is poisoned, not only is Hamlet certain that Claudius is a murderer, but he can also act against Claudius without harming his mother. So the Ghost’s elaborate tale in 1.5 ultimately has very little to do with this act of revenge.
Closure History play: open ended Hamlet: all the loose ends are tied up, and “the rest is silence” (5.2.360). Horatio will tell Hamlet’s story, but he will leave out the supernatural parts (5.2.374- 88; cf. 1.5.175-76 and 5.2.343). END
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