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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: February ::
Re: Hamlet and Oedipus
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0358  Wednesday, 14 February 2001

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Feb 2001 11:45:06 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0346 Hamlet and Oedipus?!?

[2]     From:   Elena Fernandez del Valle <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 13 Feb 2001 21:33:58 -0600
        Subj:   Hamlet and Oedipus


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Feb 2001 11:45:06 -0500
Subject: 12.0346 Hamlet and Oedipus?!?
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0346 Hamlet and Oedipus?!?

Andrew White said:

>Is Stetner saying that there can be no other reasons, dramatic or
>otherwise, for Hamlet's intemperate response to his mother's
>re-marriage?  Is he implying that the _only_ reason Hamlet lingers on
>the time it took for remarriage was because he lusts for his mom?  I
>should certainly hope not.

But this ties in with the "is Cressida a whore?" thread. Deprived of the
protection of her first husband, Gertrude may not have had a lot of
options.

BTW, if you read Leviticus it is not incestuous to marry a deceased
husband's brother--it is obligatory unless you have a dispensation.

Dana Shilling

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Elena Fernandez del Valle <
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Date:           Tuesday, 13 Feb 2001 21:33:58 -0600
Subject:        Hamlet and Oedipus

Andrew Walker White proposes to ditch Jones' approach to Hamlet. Though
I'm a psychoanalyst myself, I agree - for different reasons.

1) In his long essay on Hamlet, Jones tells us he will attempt to
psychoanalyze him as though the Prince of Denmark were a live person.
This is absurd - a dramatic character has no unconscious conflicts,
cannot be made to lay on a couch to tell the analyst-turned-critic his
bad dreams.  And, were it possible, I doubt Hamlet would ever agree to
talk to Ernest Jones. "You would play upon me, you would seem to know my
stops..." etc.

2) When a psychoanalyst "analyses" a literary character, he is actually
working on his own associations to it (even when he pretends to uncover
the author's unconscious conflicts). Which is an excellent way to
progress in self-knowledge, if the analyst knows what he or she is
doing.  That is to say - Jones' essay tells us more about Jones'
nearsightedness than about either Hamlet or Shakespeare.

Now,

> Is Stetner saying that there can be no other reasons, dramatic or
> otherwise, for Hamlet's intemperate response to his mother's
> re-marriage?  Is he implying that the _only_ reason Hamlet lingers on
> the time it took for remarriage was because he lusts for his mom?  I
> should certainly hope not.

I certainly think not. Stetner sounds rather more sophisticated than
that whenever he mentions psychoanalysis in his contributions to this
list.  Oedipal conflict is not just "lust for mom" (I know, popularized
psychoanalysis has it that way, Jones almost says so). Oedipal conflict
is about not being able to love and respect both father and mother,
because loving one of them would mean to lose the other (that's why it's
a conflict) and may manifest itself in myriad forms - imagine, for
instance, a young man who wants to abide by his father's ideals, and
finds consequently that he can't approve of his mother's way of life
even though he loves her. Isn't this close to your own theory, Andrew?

Elena Marin

 

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