The Oedipus Complex as an explanation of the Hamlet mystery: A study on motive : January 1910 : Ernest Jones

by Julia Evans on January 1, 1910

American Journal of Psychology , Vol 21 No 1 (Jan 1910) p72-113: 1910

Available at here

Seminar VI: Seminar VI: Desire and its interpretation: 1958-1959 : from 12th November 1958 : Jacques Lacan or here

11th March 1959 :Chapter 14: p173 of Cormac Gallagher’s translation : We will begin with Jones’ article, which appeared in 1910 in the American Journal of Psychology which gives us a date and a monument, and it is essential to have read it, it is not easy to get hold of it nowadays. And in the little reedition that he made of it Jones has I think added on something else, some complements to his theory of Hamlet in this article: ‘The Oedipus Complex as an Explanation of the Hamlet Mystery’.

He adds as a subtitle: ‘A study on motive’. In 1910 Jones tackles the problem which was masterfully indicated by Freud as I showed you the last time in this half-page in which one could say that when all is said and done everything is already there, because even the points on the horizon are marked, namely the relationships of Shakespeare with the meaning of the problem which is posed for him: the signification of the feminine object. I believe that we have here something that is absolutely central.

An alternative version was published in 1923. Jacques Lacan refers to the 1910 paper and the 1923 article in Seminar VI. Availability given Essays on Applied Psycho-analysis (includes ‘A Psycho-Analytic Study of Hamlet’ : 1923 : Ernest Jones or here  

Other references to Ernest Jones in Seminar VI

17th December 1958 : Chapter 6: p67 : Is not this ‘in consequence of his wish’ re-established at the level of the infantile desire, something which is found there in short in the position of going in the direction of the dream-desire, because it is a question of interposing at this crucial moment of the subjects life which is realised by the death of the father, because it is a question in the dream of interposing this image of the object and incontestably presents it as the support of a veil, of a perpetual ignorance, of a prop to what was in short up to then the alibi of the desire, because indeed the very function of the prohibition conveyed by the father, is indeed something which gives to desire its enigmatic, even unfathomable form, this something from which the subject finds himself separated, this protection, this defence when all is said and done, which is as Jones very well glimpsed, and we will see today that Jones had some very extraordinary perceptions from certain points of view about this psychic dynamism, this moral pretext never to be affronted in his desire.

(To be continued)

References to Freud (These need checking)

P72 : 1. Freud: Der Wahn und die Träume in W. Jensen’s Gradiva, 1907 [Delusions and Dreams in Jensen’s ‘Gradiva’, Standard Edition vol. 9,  1907a or Penguin Freud Library Vol 14], . Der Dichter und das Pbantasieren. Neue Revue, 1908. No. 10, S.716.   ????

P72 : 2. Freud.:Traumdeutung, 1900. [The Interpretation of Dreams, SE vols 4-5, PFL Vol 4 & available: The Interpretation of Dreams: 1st November 1899 (published as 1900): Sigmund Freud  or here]  Der Witz und seine Beziehung zum Unbewussten, 1905. [Probably Jokes and their relation to the Unconscious, 1905c, SE Vol 8 or PFL Vol 6] Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 1905. [Three Essays on the Theory of sexuality, SE vol 7 or PFL Vol 7, 1905d] Sammlung kleiner Schriften zur Neurosenlehre, 1906 [My views on the part played by sexuality in the aetiology of the neuroses: 1906a[1905], SE vol 7, or PFL vol 10]. Zweite Folge ???, etc.

P74 1.  Traumdeutung, as above, op. cit.  S. 183

P74 : 2.  The central mystery in it (the play), namely the cause of Hamlet’s hesitancy in seeking to obtain revenge for the murder of his father, has well been called the Sphinx of modern Literature. From footnote 2: It is but fitting that Freud should have solved the riddle of this Sphinx, as he has that of the Theban one.

P95 1.  See Freud,: Traumdeutung, 1900, S. 175 (See above for access)

P96 I Freud: Traumdeutung, 1900, S. 176-180. He has strikingly illustrated the subject in a recent detailed study, “Analyse der Phobie eines fünfjährigen Knabes.” Jahrbuch f. psychoanalytische u. psychopathologische Forschungen, 1909, Bd. I, *Hälfte.

P96 2 Freud: Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie, 1905.

P97 4 See Freud: Traumdeutung, 1900, S. 181. Interesting expositions of the mythological aspects of the subject are given by Abraham, Traum und Mythus, 1909, and Rank, Op. cit.

P98 1 Here, as throughout this essay, I closely follow Freud’s interpretation given in the footnote previously referred to. He there points out the inadequacy of the earlier explanations, deals with Hamlet’s feelings toward his mother, father and uncle, and mentions two other matters that will presently be discussed, the significance of Hamlet’s reaction against Ophelia and of the fact that the play was written immediately after the death of Shakespeare’s father.

P112 1 Those who are acquainted with Freud.’s work will have no difficulty in discerning the sadistic origin of this pretext. (See Sammlung kleiner Schriften, Zweite Folge, 1909, S. 169.) The interpretation of an overheard coitus as au act of violence the mother is frequently an aggravating cause of hostility towards the father.