Freud were coupled with previous situational experiences to

Freud believed that childhood experiences and attachments dictated the unconscious mind’s actions throughout all of human behavior and interaction. Jung expanded upon that, maintaining that future aspirations and expectations were coupled with previous situational experiences to lead a person to a particular action or thought. Underneath the outer trauma of his father, deeper issues lie within Hamlet’s psyche, and these issues only emerged with the fresh pain of King Hamlet’s death. Hamlet’s strange fascination with his mother’s sexuality and preoccupation with the continuance of loyalty manifest themselves in unusual behavior that he outwardly labels as the path to vengeance for his father’s death. Psychoanalytical examination of the play reveals that Hamlet’s peculiar fixations centered on death and relationships are best explained through a combination of both Jungian and Freudian perspectives. Hamlet’s psychological development does not build in the way that would normally be expected of someone nearing the end of the brain’s formative growth and setting period. Instead, his development is more of a slide towards complete madness, most likely set up by his decision to play crazy, as in “I perchance hereafter shall think meet/To put an antic disposition on” (1.5.191-192). Jung would suggest that his conscious mind is labeling that process that is already happening on a deeper level, something happening within the Shadow archetype of personality. Before examining the levels of Hamlet’s madness with Jungian principles in mind, one must be familiar with Jung’s four main archetypes of personality, rooted in the unconscious mind and presenting itself in our actions. These are, in order of most to least visible from the outside; 1) “The Persona”, the outer presented personality, 2) “The Anima/Animus”, the presentation of self in relation to the opposite sex, in this case The Anima, as in Hamlet’s mental feminine image, 3) “The Shadow”, the animalistic urges, weaknesses, and desires that the other archetypes repress, and 4) “The Self”, the unified whole that controls and integrates the other aspects of the personality. (Jung, 1912). The Self is the last of the four to be created, is fully formed between the ages of 25 to 35, and is produced by individuation, or the process of seeking purpose, balance, and the wholeness of self rather than perfection. (Jung, 1912) The primary struggle that presents itself within the play as Hamlet seeks that final balance of The Self. The play suggests that Hamlet is about thirty years of age through the sexton’s conversation with him about Yorick (5.1.131-152). If he is indeed thirty, the balance between the Persona, the Anima, and the Shadow should be formed into the Self, but the trauma of the loss of Old Hamlet could easily have regressed Hamlet five to ten years in this process.


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