Psychoanalytic Critique

Our Psychoanalytic critique was focusing on the articles we read by Sigmund Freud. It was refreshing to write a paper based on something ‘scientific’ and I found Freud’s work about Psychoanalysis of Mourning and Melancholia, new ideas of the time, very interesting and applicable to Shakespeare’s Hamlet especially Hamlet, himself.

I used our in class discussion of the difference between mourning and melancholia to get an idea of how the two ways of grieving worked and also how I wanted to structure my essay. I thought about analyzing Hamlet’s journey through melancholia and I also wanted to touch on Ophelia’s behavior through her loss of her father. I skimmed through many scenes of the play and could dissect Ophelia and Hamlet’s behavior to relate it back to Freud’s work. By doing so, I was able to make sense of his delusional behavior and connect it back to Freud’s process of melancholia. 

I started off by making an outline of paragraphs including Freud’s ideas that I wanted to touch on. I then started exploring the play to see what scenes and dialogue best displayed Freud’s idea of melancholia in the characters.

With feeling confident that I could pair the two pieces of writing I created a rough Draft 1, which I had a peer review (her suggestions seen at the bottom). Unfortunately, I was not as much of a Freud follower as I thought. My draft was jumping back and forth between characters too much without hitting an actual claim, therefore I decided just to focus on Hamlet and drop Ophelia. 

I used scenes of Hamlet’s withdrawal from from the world, loosing love interest, and finally his “To Be or Not To Be” speech to solidify my claim that Hamlet is not simply mourning, but has reached the intensity of melancholia. What I learned from this essay in particular, was even if you think you are on the right track, you still use your resources and get another pair of eyes to check over your work. Had I not done so, I would have had an essay of bologna. Therefore, my submitted draft, Draft 2, was a more condense and direct hit at Hamlet’s reaction to his father’s death according to Freud’s early ideas of the subconscious.

There was still work to be done, of course! Please check out my 100% more accurate and polished draft of this essay in my presentation portfolio, called Mr. Melancholia.