Oedipus Complex in Hamlet

Sigmund Freud sees in Hamlet the operation of his famous theory of the 'Oedipus complex'. Sigmund Freud examines not only the play but also the circumstances of the play to see to what extent it fulfills his theory. In Hamlet, the prince Hamlet, a tragic hero, has its roots in the same soil as Oedipus Rex.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

In Oedipus Rex, the child's wishful fantasy is brought into open and realized as it would be in a dream, but in Hamlet, the fantasy remains repressed and we learn of its existence from its impeding consequences.

The play is built up on Hamlet's hesitation over fulfilling the task of revenge that is assigned to him by his dead father's ghost. Goethe says Hamlet represents the type of man whose power of direct action is paralyzed by an excessive development of his intellect. Hamlet is far from being represented and a person incapable of taking an action. He, in his temper, kills Polonius with sword and sends the two courtiers to death that had been planned for himself. Then the question arises what prevents him in fulfilling the task given to him by his father's ghost? The answer is that it is the peculiar nature of the task. Hamlet is able to do anything except take revenge on the man who did away with his father and took his place with the mother. Hamlet finds his desire of killing own father and sleeping with own mother fulfilled by Claudius's murder of his father. He realizes his repressed wishes of his own childhood. In childhood, Hamlet himself wanted to do the same action which his uncle did. It reminds him that he himself is no better than the sinner whom he is destined to punish.  He finds his inner self, represented by his uncle and if he kills him for that cause it means killing his own self. At last, though he kills Claudius in temper, the reason is that his mother dies because of treacherous Claudius.

Hamlet Study Center

Procrastination in Avenging the Murder of Father in Hamlet