Jones, Ernest. "The Oedipus-Complex as An Explanation of Hamlet's
Mystery: A Study in Motive." The American Journal of Psychology 21.1 (January, 1910): 72-113.
PAGE  100


death and the mother's second marriage, seemed to the world
not to be causally related to each other, but they represented
ideas which in Hamlet's unconscious fantasy had for many
years been closely associated.  These ideas now in a moment
forced their way to conscious recognition in spite of all "re-
pressing" forces, and found immediate expression in his
almost reflex cry: "O my prophetic soul! My uncle?"
For the rest of the interview Hamlet is stunned by the effect
of the internal conflict in his mind, which from now on never
ceases, and into the nature of which he never penetrates.
      One of the first manifestations of the awakening in Hamlet's
mind of the old conflict is the reaction against Ophelia.  This
is doubly conditioned, first by his reaction against woman in
general, which culminates in the bitter misogyny of his out-
burst against her,1 and secondly by the hypocritical prudish-
ness with which Ophelia follows her father and brother in
seeing evil in his natural affection, and which poisons his love
in exactly the same way that the love of his childhood had
been poisoned.  On only one occasion does he for a moment
escape from the sordid implication with which his love has
been impregnated, and achieve a healthier attitude towards
Ophelia, namely at the open grave when in remorse he breaks
out at Laertes for presuming to pretend that his feeling for
Ophelia could ever equal that of her lover.  The intensity of
the previous repulsion against women in general, and Ophelia
in particular, is an index of the powerful "repression" to
which his sexual feeling is being subjected.  The outlet for
that feeling in the direction of his mother has always been
firmly dammed by the forces making for "repression," and,
now that the thin outlet for it in Ophelia's direction has also
been closed, the increase of desire in the original direction
consequent on the awakening of early memories tasks all his
energy to maintain the "repression."
      It will be seen from the foregoing that Hamlet's attitude
towards his uncle is far more complex than is generally sup-
posed.  He of course detests his uncle, but it is the jealous
detestation of one evil-doer towards his successful fellow.

      1Act III, Sc. I, l. 149: "I have heard of your paintings too, well
enough; God has given you one face, and you make yourselves
another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's
creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance. Go to, I'll no
more on't; it hath made me mad."