Psychoanalytic Critique


It is clear that Hamlet acts according to Freud’s definition of melancholy throughout the play. What is more ambiguous is what specific loss has triggered this behavior. While one can point to the loss of his father, it seems too easily identifiable for Hamlet to resort to identifying the loss within himself. In this essay I argue that it is his fractured relationship with his mother, and the chaos it represents is the catalyst for Hamlet’s actions. Hamlet’s true loss is the realization that this world cannot follow the order a person expects it to.