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  89


      In short, the whole picture presented by Hamlet, his deep
depression, the hopeless note in his attitude towards the world
and towards the value of life, his dread of death,1 his repeated
reference to bad dreams, his self-accusations, his desperate
efforts to get away from the thoughts of his duty, and his vain
attempts to find an excuse for his recalcitrancy; all this une-
quivocally points to a tortured conscience, to some hidden
ground for shirking his task, a ground which he dare not or
cannot avow to himself.  We have, therefore, again to take
up the argument at this point, and to seek for some evidence
that may serve to bring to the light of day the hidden motive.
      The extensive experience of the psycho-analytic researches
carried out by Freud and his school during the past twenty
years has amply demonstrated that certain kinds of mental
processes shew a greater tendency to be "repressed" (ver-
than others.  In other words, it is harder for a person
to own to himself the existence in his mind of some mental
trends that it is of others.  In order to gain a correct per-
spective it is therefore desirable briefly to enquire into the
relative frequency with which various sets of mental processes
are "repressed." One might in this connection venture the
generalisation that those processes are most likely to be "re-
pressed" by the individual which are most disapproved of by
the particular circle of society to whose influence he has chiefly
been subjected.  Biologically stated, this law would run: "That
which is inacceptable to the herd becomes inacceptable to the
individual unit," it being understood that the term herd is in-
tended in the sense of the particular circle above defined, which
is by no means necessarily the community at large.  It is for
this reason that moral, social, ethical or religious influences
are hardly ever "repressed," for as the individual originally
received them from this herd, they can never come into conflict
with the dicta of the latter.  This merely says that a man
cannot be ashamed of that which he respects; the apparent
exceptions to this need not here be explained.  The contrary
is equally true, namely that mental trends "repressed" by the
individual are those least acceptable to his herd; they are,
therefore, those which are, curiously enough, distinguished as
"natural" instincts, as contrasted with secondarily acquired
mental trends.  Loening2 seems very discerningly to have
grasped this, for, in commenting on a remark of Kohler's to
the effect that "where a feeling impels us to action or to omission,

      1Tieck (Dramaturgische Blätter, II, 1826) saw in Hamlet's cow-
ardly fear of death a chief reason for his hesitancy in executing his
      2Op. cit.,S. 245, 246.