Daily Archives: February 7, 2017

Oppositions (303)

Maybe focus on this for the moment:

As an opening gambit we broke into the play at the level of character. Ex. the Ghost, an unnatural (supernatural) figure, the victim of an unnatural act, who commands Hamlet to be a “natural” son and avenge him.

Thus the un/natural opposition as a theme with resonances throughout the play.

The Ghost also describes Gertrude as “seeming-virtuous,” echoing Hamlet’s response to her earlier: “‘Seems,’ madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems.” For Hamlet, mere appearance can never express true depth. Some things are ineffable. In the corrupted world of Elsinore, at least, all is show.

Thus two more oppositions: seeming/being and in/effable.

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Freud’s Hamlet (220/303)



from Interpretation of Dreams [On Hamlet] (1900)

[Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), a founding figure of psychoanalysis…examines Hamlet in light of his theory known as the Oedipus complex.]

Another of the great creations of tragic poetry, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, has its roots in the same soil as Oedipus Rex. But the changed treatment of same material reveals the whole difference in the mental life of these two widely separated epochs of civilization: the secular advance of repression in the emotional life of mankind. In the Oedipus the child’s wishful fantasy that underlies it is brought into the open and realized as it would be in a dream. In Hamlet it remains repressed; and—just as in the case of a neurosis—we only learn of its existence from its inhibiting consequences. Strangely enough, the

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