Psychoanalytic Critique

It is almost impossible to ignore the strange behaviors that occur during Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Character’s act out as a response to greed, grief, vengeance, and a seemingly unlimited list of other emotions. These actions and emotions work in such a complicated way with the relationships in the text that it feels like the psychoanalysts playground.

I initially decided that I wanted to focus on Gertrude and Hamlet. It later turned into an assessment of where Hamlet’s loss was coming from. Here are some notes on my thought process. When I find a topic that I want to focus on for an essay, I have a tendency to build the essay right away. I jumped to a thesis about how his mother is the source of his sense of loss rather than his father’s death.

From here I started to look at Freud’s Mourning and MelancholiaGaining a stronger sense of the methodology I was working with made me realize that my claim was not sufficient in the light of the theories I was working with. As a result I took a second look at the text and decided that I not only recognized Melancholia in Hamlet, but could track the source of that argument by adapting what I had already written.

I collected evidence for the problem at hand and eventually worked out a working claim. Once I had a rough draft finished, I turned it in for peer feedback. My peer feedback stated that while I had a solid idea, I needed to continue to work with Freud and make sure that each claim I was making was adequately supported.

After my initial revisions, I turned in my second draft to the instructor for more feedback. His response repeated that of my peer reviewer. I needed to explain more about Freud’s theories and clarifying my claim. I had included a few contradictions which needed to be addressed. Again, I took some notes to organize my essay more fully. Fixing these things helped to make my essay more concrete and easier for a reader unfamiliar with Freud to grasp.

Check out the completed essay here.