Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hamlet and Incest

Oedipal Desires & the Subconscious in the Language of Hamlet

For many people, especially those who have never encountered Shakespeare, or who have only experienced Bowdlerized versions, Shakespeare’s works are a clean and wholesome alternative to what they consider “modern filth.” However, even a basic knowledge of Shakespeare’s writing reveals themes such as those found in Hamlet: Self-harm, murder, incest, and more, all used to reveal deeper truths about humanity. This essay will examine Hamlet’s use of incestuous themes, particularly Ophelia’s song to deceased Polonius and two of Hamlet’s interactions with Gertrude; find that Hamlet and Ophelia indeed possess Oedipal desires; and examine possible reasons for Shakespeare’s inclusion of such longings.