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  101


Much as he hates him, he can never denounce him with the
ardent indignation that boils straight from his blood when he
reproaches his mother, for the more vigorously he denounces
his uncle the more powerfully does he stimulate to activity his
own unconscious and "repressed" complexes.  He is there-
fore in a dilemma between on the one hand allowing his
natural detestation of his uncle to have free play, a consum-
mation which would make him aware of his own horrible
wishes, and on the other ignoring the imperative call for ven-
geance that his obvious duty demands.  He must either realise
his own evil in denouncing his uncle's, or strive to ignore, to
condone and if possible even to forget the latter in continuing
to "repress" the former; his moral fate is bound up with his
uncle's for good or ill.  The call of duty to slay his uncle
cannot be obeyed because it links itself with the call of his
nature to slay his mother's husband, whether this is the first
or the second; the latter call is strongly "repressed," and
therefore necessarily the former also.  It is no mere chance
that he says of himself that he is prompted to the revenge "by
heaven and hell," though the true significance of the expres-
sion of course quite escapes him.
      Hamlet's dammed-up feeling finds a partial vent in other
directions, the natural one being blocked.  The petulant
irascibility and explosive outbursts called forth by the vexa-
tion of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, and especially of Polo-
nius, are evidently to be interpreted in this way, as also is in
part the burning nature of his reproaches to his mother.  In-
deed towards the end of the interview with his mother the
thought of her misconduct expresses itself in that almost
physical disgust which is so often the manifestation of in-
tensely "repressed" sexual feeling.

"Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out."
      His attitude towards Polonius is highly instructive.  Here
the absence of family tie, and of other influences, enables him
to indulge to a relatively unrestrained degree his hostility
towards the prating and sententious dotard.  The analogy he
effects between Polonius and Jephthah1 is in this connection
especially pointed.  It is here that we see his fundamental
attitude towards moralising elders who use their power to

      1What Shakspere thought of Jephthah's behaviour towards his
daughter may be gathered from a reference in Henry VI, Part II,
Act V, Sc. I. See also on the subject Wordsworth, On Shakespeare's
knowledge and use of the Bible, 1864, p.67.