Hamlet and Melancholia: Why Hamlet Can’t Kill Claudius

Hamlet is a very odd protagonist. Throughout the play, he has many chances to kill Claudius; however, he never does. By examining Hamlet through the lens of psychoanalysis using Freud’s “Mourning and Melancholia,” we can see his behavior is caused by his melancholia. Freud states that the main difference between melancholia and mourning is that melancholia is accompanied by a lack of self regard. This essay explores the source of Hamlet’s melancholia as the loss of an idealized father through the realization of his mother’s sexuality. Because of Hamlet’s melancholia, he cannot follow through on his revenge to kill Claudius.

Hamlet and Melancholia: Why Hamlet Can’t Kill Claudius