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Hamlet Closet Scene

In: English and Literature

Submitted By markusmarlon
Words 1524
Pages 7
Spying is a recurring theme in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet as it creates an abundant amount of dramatic intensity throughout the play. It causes the death of Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and it reveals significant characteristics of major characters. Shakespeare specifically incorporates spying into certain scenes known as observation scenes or ‘closet scenes’. An observation scene dramatically enhances the climatic moments of the play and develops the complex reasoning behind many major characters such as Hamlet. The most important observation scene in the play is Act III scene IV as Hamlet discusses his true feelings to Gertrude while Polonius overhears the conversation. It probes the sexuality of Hamlet and Gertrude and is the turning-point in which Hamlet demonstrates a change in character. Throughout the play, Hamlet displays hostility towards his uncle Claudius due to the marriage between him and Gertrude. This is especially evident in the closet scene as Hamlet berates his mother with many sexual and incestuous references. In order to explain the relationship between Hamlet and his mother, Sigmund Freud’s theory the Oedipus Complex identifies this situation as a male’s unconscious sexual desire for his mother (Losh). Freud believes that these sexual desires are repressed unconsciously which in turns creates a lasting effect in a boy’s life (Losh). An example in this scene is when Hamlet says: “But to live / In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed, / Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love / Over the nasty sty!” (Shakespeare, 3.4.99-102). Hamlet is furious with his mother’s sexual relationship with Claudius and his sexual desires emerges in his sexual allusions. He refers to a bed which is appropriate in this scene as they are in Gertrude’s bedroom. In context with the Oedipus Complex, a bed creates a sexual intimacy due to the private…...

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