Presentation on theme: "“Hamlet and the Pirates: A Case Study in Jungian Criticism” Dr. Matthew Fike Undergraduate and Graduate Student Conference Department of English, Winthrop."— Presentation transcript:
“Hamlet and the Pirates: A Case Study in Jungian Criticism” Dr. Matthew Fike Undergraduate and Graduate Student Conference Department of English, Winthrop University February 23, 2008
Questions 1.What is Jungian psychology? 2.What is Jungian literary criticism? 3.How do you do Jungian literary criticism of the character Hamlet? 4.What elements of Jungian psychology are particularly relevant to Hamlet’s psyche? 5.And, finally, what can we conclude about Hamlet’s encounter with the pirates?
Sometimes a snake is just a snake. “… it is quite incorrect to assume that a snake, when it appears in dreams, always has a merely phallic meaning; just as incorrect as it is to deny that it may have a phallic meaning in some cases. Every symbol has at least two meanings. The very frequent sexual meaning of dream-symbols is at most one of them.” CW 4, 539
Collective Unconscious “contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind’s evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual” (CW 8, 342). A “phylogenetic substratum” (CW 9i, 518). A “treasure-house of primordial images” (CW 7, 110).
Key Points Psychoanalysis must do more than relate a patient’s issues to sexuality. The unconscious is not only personal but also collective.
Archetypes Not “inherited ideas but…inherited possibilities of ideas” (CW 9i, 136; Jung’s emphasis). “primordial, structural elements of the human psyche…irrepresentable in themselves[,] but their effects are discernible in archetypal images and motifs” (C.G. Jung Lexicon 27).
Question #2: What is Jungian literary criticism?
Two Types of Artistic Creation Psychological—from the personal unconscious Visionary—from the collective unconscious
The Visionary Mode “the hinterlands of man’s mind” “primordial experience” “transcends our human feeling and understanding” “a glimpse into the unfathomable abyss” CW 15, 141
A Midsummer Night’s Dream 5.1.12-17 The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name.
Question #3: How do you do Jungian literary criticism of the character Hamlet?
Critical Opinions on Hamlet’s Individuation Tucker: “Hamlet is never able in this world to achieve psychological equipoise”— individuation is impossible for people like Hamlet. Jordan-Finnegan: “Hamlet comes to a readiness and a balance unlike any other character within the play.”
Hamlet’s Psyche and Other Characters Ophelia—anima Gertrude—the terrible mother Laertes and the pirates—shadow Polonius—father, scapegoat, fool Rosencrantz and Guildenstern—tricksters Horatio—reason Fortinbras—warrior Ghost—warrior father or “racial” father Claudius—shadow
Question #4: What elements of Jungian psychology are particularly relevant to Hamlet’s psyche?
Jung on the Anima “the anima is the archetype of life itself” (CW 9i, 66; Jung’s emphasis) “soul” (CW 9i, 57) A link between the conscious and unconscious parts of the psyche “a personification of the unconscious in general” (CW 13, 62) “a bridge to the unconscious” (CW 9ii, 40) “The anima can be defined as the image or archetype or deposit of all the experiences of man with woman” (CW 13, 58)
Summary of the Anima To sum up, Jung’s theory of the anima includes a wide range of manifestations, most of which relate to our play: the whole of the unconscious, the soul, a conduit between the unconscious and conscious awareness, a repository of the feminine in men, and a balance for the persona.
Shadow “The shadow personifies everything that the subject refuses to acknowledge about himself and yet is always thrusting itself upon him directly or indirectly—for instance, inferior traits of character and other incompatible tendencies” (CW 9i, 513). “SHADOW, that hidden, repressed, for the most part inferior and guilt-laden personality whose ultimate ramifications reach back into the realm of our animal ancestors and so comprise the whole historical aspect of the unconscious” (CW 9ii, 422).
More on the Shadow “To the degree that we identify with a bright persona the shadow is correspondingly dark.” When assimilating the shadow by awakening awareness of one’s dark side—an act of “diplomacy or statesmanship”—one can engage the shadow’s positive characteristics (Lexicon 124).
Spock is a Jungian. “And what is it that makes one man an exceptional leader? We see here indications that it is his negative side that makes him strong; that is, his ‘evil’ side, if you will, properly controlled and disciplined, is vital to his strength.”
Shadow and Anima “The shadow coincides with the ‘personal’ unconscious (which corresponds to Freud’s conception of the unconscious),” but the anima and animus “evidently live and function in the deeper layers of the unconscious, especially in that phylogenic substratum which I have called the collective unconscious” (CW 9i, 513 and 518).
First Things First “If the encounter with the shadow is the ‘apprentice-piece’ in the individual’s development, then that with the anima is the ‘master-piece’” (CW 9i, 61). “the integration of the shadow, or the realization of the personal unconscious, marks the first stage in the analytic process, and … without it a recognition of anima and animus is impossible” (CW 9ii, 42).
MAIN POINT Conscious awareness must incorporate the personal unconscious in order to reach and integrate the collective unconscious.
Shadow Integration “to the degree in which the shadow is recognized and integrated, the problem of the anima, i.e., of relationship, is constellated [i.e., activated]” (CW 9i, 485, n. 18).
Question #5: What can we conclude about Hamlet’s encounter with the pirates?
Critical Opinion on the Pirates Aronson: “None of these three protagonists ever integrates the shadow he projects.” Porterfield: In the “To be or not to be” soliloquy, Hamlet begins shadow integration by “owning … the parts of his personality that are not convenient”; the sea voyage is a “voyage into the unconscious.” Rogers-Gardner: “the Danish prince takes off across the sea, away from his mother, to test himself in a man’s world,” that the encounter with the pirates sets in motion “the conjunction of opposites … necessary to maturation,” and that he “almost” loses “his capacity for feeling in the process.” Oakes: it is “the [sea] journey that generates his extrication from the terrible mother in his rebirth from water” and that the experience moves him “beyond the personal to the communal.”
Jungian Premises A male must separate from maternal anima by means of “rites designed to organize this separation,” as in primitive societies (CW 7, 314). The first half of a man’s life focuses on the masculine and the second half on the feminine (CW 8, 782). And “projection ceases the moment it becomes conscious, that is to say when it is seen as belonging to the subject” (CW 9i, 121).
Hamlet’s Letter to Horatio “Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valor, and in the grapple I boarded them. On the instant they got clear of our ship, so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy, but they knew what they did: I am to do a good turn for them. Let the King have the letters I have sent, and repair thou to me with as much speed as thou wouldest fly death” (4.6.15-24; my emphasis).
My Thesis I am arguing that Hamlet’s tragedy is not that he never confronts or overcomes the shadow (he apparently does both on his sea voyage). His tragedy is rather that he encounters the anima and the shadow in the wrong order, attempting a relationship with Ophelia before he has properly integrated his shadow. He attempts the “master-piece” before the “apprentice-piece.”
Hamlet to Ophelia “I did love you once. … I loved you not. … Get thee to a nunnery” (3.1.116-22). “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers / Could not with all their quantity of love / Make up my sum” (5.1.272-74).
Hamlet’s Anima-Alienation “I am too much in the sun” (1.2.67). “Anima and sun are thus distinct, which points to the fact that the sun represents a different principle from that of the anima. The latter is a personification of the unconscious, while the sun is a symbol of the source of life and the ultimate wholeness of man” (CW 12, 112/84).
More Anima-Alienation “frailty, thy name is woman!” (1.2.146) “The anima also stands for the ‘inferior’ function and for that reason frequently has a shady character; in fact she sometimes stands for evil itself” (CW 12, 192). “stewed in corruption, honeying and making love / Over the nasty sty!” (3.4.95-96)
My Point If Hamlet can speak lovingly in the graveyard, he has done a good bit of shadow work, and this point is especially true in light of his anima-related dysfunction in several earlier scenes.
Poor Hamlet Jung: “the anima will gradually cease to act as an autonomous personality and will become a function of relationship between conscious and unconscious” (CW 16, 504) Gertrude: “I hoped thou shouldst have been my Hamlet’s wife” (5.1.244).
Conclusion Hamlet is a more integrated personality than he was at the play’s opening, but problems with shadow and anima prevent the couple from relating properly; and by the time Hamlet returns from his sea voyage, it is too late to do anything but stay the course that the ghost has charted for him.