My third essay prepared for my presentation portfolio was a Psychoanalytic Critique of Hamlet called, Mr. Melancholia , referring to the character, Hamlet, and his reaction to his father’s death. Freud’s work of Mourning and Melancholia, shared his early ideas of how one’s ego is affected by loss and I was able to connect scenes in the play to provide evidence that Hamlet was experiencing Freud’s theory of melancholia, a grieving process more complex and intense than typical mourning.
Hamlet was loosing touch with the world around him, withdrawing from his interests, and his past relationships with people which can be seen his the first two scenes I chose to analyze under a Freudian lens. First, Hamlet expresses that nothing delights him anymore. Piggy backing off of that quote, in the second excerpt, he denies any further love towards Ophelia. I linked Hamlet’s selfishness and his narcissistic responses to Ophelia seen in these scenes as part of process of his ego being replaced by that of his lost father which follows with the causes of melancholia.
I wrap up the essay with Hamlets’ famous “To be or not to be speech” because he evidently is contemplating suicide. This can only be reached through sadism, according to Freud, and sadism can only be linked through the causes of melancholia. That evidence my is the final push that Hamlet’s actions are in fact due to the causes of his melancholia. I hoped to bring in Freud’s work to truly make the suffering of Hamlet correlate directly with his theory of melancholia.