Hamlet Essay Research Paper To be or

To be or not to be-that is the question , Hamlet asks himself in this famous

soliloquy what he should do the situation he is in. As we live, we make

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thousands of decisions each day, and each decision that we make makes a big

difference in our lives. In the decision making process there has been a

question that was raised by the Freudian psychologists. Is one following his

or her pure conscious will, or is there something else that influences the

decision making process? The Freudians argue that there is such influence

called unconsciousness. They argue that even though we cannot physically

acknowledge our unconsciousness, it is probably influencing every move of

one s life. Shakespeare demonstrates that doing what is against one s

personal ethical code creates sense of guilt in unconsciousness and will

eventually lead to one s downfall.

We live in series of conflicts. Norms and laws of the society often

conflict with an individual s wills and desires. Even one s own

unconsciousness could conflict with one s conscious motivation, or vice

versa. Hamlet in the play has conflicting minds because he decides to murder

Claudius, his uncle, in order to revenge for his father King Hamlet. Hamlet

wants to get revenge on Claudius but he has trouble going through with it

because his unconsciousness is telling him to do what is ethical. He often has

to remind himself that the King has killed his father and is also infecting his

mother with filthy incestuous acts. Without reminding himself, he cannot

complete the task of killing his relative, although he is the Claudius is the one

who murdered his father.

Hamlet cries and asks why he cannot act on his revenge unlike

Fortinbras, feeling guilt in his consciousness because he cannot revenge for

his innocent father. There is another kind of guilt, unconscious guilt, that is

hiding and resisting to be pulled by his consciousness and that is the main

reason why Hamlet cannot act right on his words and makes other people

believe that he is genuinely insane. According to Freudians, when one s

having thoughts that one does not want to recall-anything unpleasant, one

hides the thoughts and keeps them in the unconsciousness. Freudians also

say the actions that one takes will reflect such conflict or problem stored in


When Hamlet has the perfect chance to kill Claudius he hesitates and

lets him escape from the situation. Freudians would say that his deep wish in

his unconsciousness state that doesn t want to harm people, especially his

uncle, is preventing him from committing a crime that is against the society,

the norms, and his own ethical code. Hamlet, like his hesitation shows, does

not realize that fact and thinks of himself as a coward.

As Hamlet hesitates and goes through his little plays that delay his

revenge, he is leading his own way to downfall. When his emotion is fierce,

after finding out that Claudius did kill his father, he goes into Gertrude s

closet to talk to her and throws a dagger at Polonius, thinking that he is the

King. Killing Polonius opens a new way to Hamlet s downfall, getting

Laertes upset and wishing to kill Hamlet, no matter how or where. If Hamlet

didn t hesitate to kill Claudius when he was praying, Hamlet wouldn t have

gotten killed by the poison on the sword, which was secretly planned by

Laertes and the King, who later realize that Hamlet knows the truth behind

his father s death. All the guilt that was created heads them to follow their

downfall slowly and eventually setting other situations that fastens the event.

Gertrude usually does not show any guilt through out the play but in

this particular scene, as her unconscious guilt is stimulated by Hamlet s bitter

and sharp speeches daggers without forms feels that she is very guilty of

incest. Hamlet was verbally attacking Gertrude and pinpoints her sin calling

Claudius a mildewed for Blasting his wholesome brother . By raising the

guilt that Queen tries to repress, Hamlet forces Gertrude to bring the guilt

from her unconsciousness. It makes such a contrast with other answers that

Gertrude made against Hamlet s bitter words. For example, before Hamlet

talks about incest Gertrude answers:

What have I done, that though dor s way thy tongue

In noise so rude against me?

By making a guilty act, one walks his way to downfall because the

guilty act conflicts with his ethical code of unconsciousness. That is what

happened to Hamlet, Claudius, and the Queen in this play, and all three of

them have committed crimes that make them feel guilty unconsciously,

bringing them to follow and create other situations that lead their way to



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