Our fourth essay involved the psychoanalytic critique. This was both the first essay to be about Hamlet and the first essay to utilize methodology in my literary critique. This means using the methodology of an area of study in my analysis of the text. This essay utilizes the work of Sigmund Freud, specifically his work “Mourning and Melancholia.” Freud’s piece discusses the difference between mourning and melancholia, with the latter being more narcissistic. I was curious if any of the major characters seemed to embody one or the other, which was ultimately my question for this essay, and came to the conclusion that Hamlet seemed to suffer more from melancholia whereas Laertes simply mourned. This was interesting to me, as both lose their father and Ophelia, but respond to these deaths in different ways.
As per previous essays, I began with a simple draft that discussed the differences in the actions of Hamlet and Laertes from a psychoanalytic perspective. I struggled with this essay, as I had been absent from class as we discussed in detail the methodology. This meant that I had to rely only on my understanding of Freud, which I did not feel was very adequate. For this essay I was also not present for peer feedback, so I took my draft to our campus’ writing center, which helps students with writing papers. They gave me comments on structuring and other fine tuning, such as things with spelling and grammar.
Slightly more confident in my work, I fixed the small things pointed out by the writing center and turned that same draft into my professor. The feedback I received was about what I expected;I was not completely correct in how I was using and interpreting Freud’s work. This is a mistake I commonly make within my first drafts for this portfolio that I hope I have fixed in those within my presentation portfolio.
From this feedback, I made a first revision of this essay for the portfolio and received peer comments on it, which can be seen on the linked revision. In this revision, I tried to better represent Freud and asked my classmates if I had. They gave me some ideas for expansion, such as including more examples of melancholia and how it relates to narcissism.
From here, I decided that my psychoanalytic critique would be a part of my final presentation portfolio, as I believe the subject matter to be interesting. The revision for the portfolio can be seen here.