Abdul Almuntaser 11/29. 13 Lit. and Psychoanalysis FIQWS 10008 and 10108 The Decision Maker Many people are usually conflicted between two decisions, whether or not to do it. The factors that lead to their decision making or actions are conscious and unconscious. These conscious and unconscious decision makers are called the superego, ego, and id. The concept of the superego, ego, ‘d, and how they affect a person’s behavior is displayed in Freud’s writing, “The Dissection of the Psychical Personality’ and the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Hamlet” is a play that focuses on a mission that needs to be accomplished by Hamlet. Hamlet’s father instructs Hamlet to kill his uncle Claudius as an act of revenge for killing him. One of the main characters that are affected by his psyche in the play “Hamlet” is Hamlet. The superego, ego, and id each play a role in Hamlet’s actions and plan to killing his uncle. Hamlet has many opportunities to execute his dad’s goal but he does not because of his psyche. The superego and ego changes Hamlet’s mindset and delays his mission of kill his uncle, while his id urges him to murder his uncle.
Hamlet’s ego and superego prevent him from killing his uncle once he found out bout his uncle’s wrong doings. The ghost, which is a representation of Hamlet’s dad spirit, tells Hamlet that Claudius was the one who killed him and ask him to seek revenge on Claudius by killing him (Shakespeare, 51-57). So since the id is “striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle” (Freud, 48), Hamlet has a strong desire to avenge his father by killing his uncle.
However, instead of immediately taking action, he takes time to think about what has Just happened. The fact that he did not take a sword and murder his ncle is a display of his ego. His ego does not allow him to act vicious because the “ego must observe the external world” (Freud 59). Since Hamlet’s ego evaluates society into his situation, Hamlet’s ego tells him that it would seem awkward and unacceptable to society if he kills his uncle without a reason. Everybody would despise him and be against him. So he holds his urges of killing his uncle back, which are derived from his id.
Hamlet’s superego also plays a role in him taking time to re- consider killing his uncle. His superego which “applies the strictest moral isplays the moral side of killing his uncle. Morally he would be committing a sin if he kills his uncle. Hamlet’s ego and superego prevent him from killing his uncle once he found out about his uncle’s wrong doings. A representation of Hamlet’s struggle between his id and superego is shown by his famous soliloquy “To Be or Not To Be”.. Hamlet’s id is shown when he discusses what he wants to do with his life.
Hamlet states, “To die, to sleep??”No more??”and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to??”’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished! (Shakespeare 127). Hamlet is questioning the purpose of life which leads to him considering suicide. Committing he questions himself once again when his superego comes into play. He considers life and the consequences of death. Hamlet argues,”ay, there’s the rub,For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.
There’s the respect, That makes calamity of so long life (Shakespeare 122). Hamlet’s superego tries to prevent him from killing himself by telling him that the afterlife is so unknown and mysterious that he should reconsider death. His superego prevents him from committing suicide and to put up with life’s troubles because committing suicide is considered a sin. Hamlet “To Be or Not To Be” is a classic case of how Hamlet has struggled between his id and superego. Hamlet decides to set a specific play that is similar to the way that Claudius killed his father called Mousetrap, this play represents Hamlets ego and superego.
Hamlet complains,”Why, what an ass am l! This is most brave,That l, the son of a dear father murdered,prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words”(Shakespeare, 153). This shows how the superego has taken control of his psyche. Sometimes the superego works against a person because an individual might feel guilty when there is no reason to be guilty (Civilizations and Discontent). Hamlet has this guilty feeling,when he should not, because he has backed up from many opportunities to fulfill his promise.
So instead of Just killing his uncle, ‘d, he sets up a play to see how his uncle will react. This play will solve his superego. Hamlet wonders,’The spirit that I have seen May be the devil, and the devil hath power, T’ assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps, Out of my weakness and my elancholy,As he is very potent with such spirits,Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds,More relative than this. The plays the thing,Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Shakespeare 151).
The idea of a play is a representation of Hamlet’s ego because Hamlet does not want to kill his uncle because he is not sure if Claudius was the one to kill Hamlet. He is unsure if his fathers ghost is a devil trying to fool him or not. So he decides to create a play that will reveal the truth and the kings conscience. A play is a socially acceptable act so the ego approves it. Since the ego “mediates etween the id and the superego’ (Freud,51), this play is considered Hamlet’s ego because it balanced Hamlets urge (‘d) to kill his father and superego (feels guilty that he has not taken serious action).
Hamlet’s delays of his mission to murder his uncle come to a near stop when is id overpowers his psyche and takes full control of his mindset. Hamlets change of psyche is exhibited when he says,” That have a father killed, a mother stained,”Excitements of my reason and my blood,And let all sleep??”while, to my shame, I see,The imminent death of twenty thousand men,That for a fantasy and trick f fameGo to their graves like beds, fght for a plotWhereon the numbers cannot try the cause,Which is not tomb enough and continentTo hide the slain”(Shakespeare, 199-203).
The beginning of the emergence of the id is shown when Hamlet can not believe that an army is fighting so deadly for a piece of land that they wont benefit from. Meanwhile, he cant react to his emotions and instincts in which his dad is dead and his mom his defiled. He is becoming frustrated of himself and expressing anger which reveals his dark side. The full transformation of Hamlet’s psyche is shown hen he utters,”Oh, from this time forth,My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing bloody thoughts and to be evil.
He is trying to satisfy his urges which is based on the ‘pleasure principle’. At this point his id has taken full control. Since the id does not “corresponds to the idea of time; there is no recognition of the passage of time” (Freud, 46), Hamlet has disregarded society and is willing to do anything to get revenge for his father. So the id is helping Hamlet approach his goal as it gives him a stepping stone to how he should be mentally. This should be the beginning to how Hamlet’s psyche helps him find revenge.