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  84


present to Hamlet's mind; it was a deep and undeveloped
feeling that had not fully dawned.  I would agree that in no
other way can the difficulty be logically met, and further, that
in the recognition of Hamlet's non-consciousness of the cause
of the repugnance to his task we are nearing the core of the
mystery.  But an invincible difficulty in the way of accepting
any of the causes of repugnance suggested above is that the
nature of them is such that a keen and introspective thinker,
as Hamlet was, would infalliby have recognised them, and
would have openly debated them instead of deceiving himself
with a number of false pretexts in the way we shall presently
mention.  Loening1 well states this in the sentence: "If it been
a question of a conflict between the duty of revenge imposed
from without and an inner moral or juristic counter-impluse,
this discord and its cause must have been brought into the
region of reflection in a man so capable of thought, and so accus-
tomed to it, as Hamlet was."
      In spite of this difficulty the hint of an approaching solution
encourages us to pursue more closely the argument at that
point.  The hypothesis stated above may be correct up to a
certain stage and then have failed for lack of special knowledge
to guide it further.  Thus Hamlet's hesitancy may have been
due to an internal conflict betwen the need to fulfil his task
on the one hand, and some special cause of repugnance to it
on the other; further, the explanation of his not disclosing
this cause of repugnance may be that he was not conscious of
its nature; and yet the cause may be one that doesn't happen
to have been considered by any of the upholders of the hy-
pothesis.  In other words the first two stages in the argument
may be correct, but not the third.  This is the view that will
now be developed, but before dealing with the third stage in
the argument it is first necessary to establish the probability
of the first two, namely that Hamlet's hesitancy was due to
some special cause of repugnance for his task, and that he was
unaware of the nature of this repugnance.
      A preliminary obstruction to this line of thought, based on
some common prejudices on the subject of mental dynamics,
may first be considered.  If Hamlet was not aware of the cause
of his inhibition, doubt may be felt as to the possibility of our
penetrating to it.  This pessimistic thought was thus ex-
pressed by Baumgart:2 "What hinders Hamlet in his revenge
is for him himself a problem and therefore it must remain
a problem for us all." Fortunately for our investigation,
however, psycho-analytic study has proved beyond doubt that

      1Loening: Die Hamlet-Tragödie Shakespeares, 1893, S. 78.
      2Baumgart: Op. cit. S. 48.