Is It Fair To Say That Hamlet Is Suffering From The Oedipal Complex And Does This Prevent Him From Murdering Claudius?.
Shakespeare's great tragedy, Hamlet was written around 1600 which was known as the Elizabethan era in which many aspects of life may have bizarre and inequitable compared to the society in which we live in today. .
Tillyard believed that all Elizabethans were much closer to a Medieval way of thinking than a modern way (Dollimore's theory) which is in my opinion reflected in many of Shakespeare's plays including Hamlet. Elizabethans believed there was a hierarchy on earth and on top was the king who was seen to be in total control of making laws which were believed to be directed from God, what followed were the noblemen, the clergy, the landowners etc. Women were taught from birth that they were inferior to men and once they married, the husband gained ownership of the wife and household. .
In this period it was considered incest for in-law brother and sister to be intimate in any way which was the relationship in which Claudius and Gertrude shared. What views would the Elizabethans have towards Hamlet (and his repressed emotions towards his mother?) It is arguable but the elder generation probably would've been astounded and possibly offended by such controversial breakthroughs in playwriting whilst modern generations could relate to sense of rebellion of not following to conventions or rules although the oedipal complex is questionable to many. It is the Hamlet who I am going to be focusing on and how his oedipal complex makes him a tragic hero and ultimately prevent him from killing the king.
The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed Hamlet had an Oedipal complex, "Being in love with the one parent and hating the other form part of the permanent stock of psychic impulses which arise in early childhood and are of such importance as the material of the subsequent neurosis", and judging from this quote it is open to question whether this strongly relate to Hamlet's character and his inhibited emotions for his mother.