The Psychoanalytic Approach to Shakespeare’S Hamlet

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Prince hamlet from the movie adaptation of hamlet by Kenneth Branagh. This will compare Prince Hamlet’s actions in the movie to the criteria needed to classify Prince Hamlet with Bipolar Disorder. All his actions and vocals will be analyzed to determine if so. Does Prince Hamlet Have a Bipolar Disorder After watching Hamlet for the first time, it was apparent to me that something was off about the prince that wasn’t just simply him faking and it only became more apparent as time went on. After watching it again and analyzing his behavior, It was clear that Prince Hamlet was suffering from some kind of mental disorder, but which one? Bipolar disorder of course! After looking up the criteria to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Hamlet’s moods, dialogue, and actions blinded quite well with what we needed in order to diagnose him. You might be wondering what is bipolar disorder exactly? well, Bipolar disorder or manic depression is a psychological disorder that can cause drastic shifts in your mood, energy, and activity. After looking through the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Witch is a scientific manual of psychological disorder published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by many types of psychologists to standardize the classification of mental disorders. there are three traits One is unusual mood shifts. Number two is that these shifts must be a drastic change from usual behavior and Three these mood swings have to be disruptive to his or her relationships or to do daily tasks.

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Changes in mood can be very uplifting and energetic. This is known as manic episodes. examples of this could be inflated self-esteem, lack of a need for sleep, being more talkative than normal, thoughts racing, easily distracted, increase in goal-driven activities, and engaging in risky activities. On the other hand, they can be very sad or down in the dumps and maybe even hopeless. This is known as a depressive episode. Examples could be feeling sad or hopeless, having little energy, less active, trouble sleeping, feel they can’t enjoy anything, and lastly think about death or suicide. Now that you know what bipolar disorder is, now I can explain why Prince Hamlet without a doubt has it. In the very beginning, Hamlet is already in a depressing state which he says is him merely morning his father’s death, but it has been established that pretty much the whole kingdom has accepted that the king is dead and has now settled for a new king. Even his mother the Queen has already moved on and newly married. Throughout the entire movie, everyone is confused to why Prince Hamlet has not moved on yet. They try to help but to no avail.

In Act II, scene ii (287–298), Hamlet talks with his friend Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who went to the same university together. He yet again explains the great sadness he has had since his father past away. In the same scene, he makes a long-winded metaphor of how mankind watches instead of taking action and compares himself saying that he too is apprehensive and that is why he is taking so long to kill his uncle Claudius. This is losing his will to act. This Is Prince Hamlet sad and has given up on his goals and showing little interest in doing things. All perfect examples of a depressive episode in one scene. Prince Hamlet himself also said that he finds it difficult to sleep And if he does manage, he has difficulties staying asleep. Yet again just another symptom of Bipolar disorder with changes in sleep behavior. Prince Hamlet also has a sense of worthlessness or guilt calling himself a peasant slave and goes even further degrading himself of how worthless he is. He also has thoughts of death and suicide leading us to the very iconic “to be or not to be” scene where he questions whether it would be better if it all just ended then or if there really is a reason to live. Now that we have sufficient evidence that Prince hamlet has been experiencing depressive episodes, we have to prove that Prince Hamlet has been showing signs of having manic episodes as well. In one screen in particular Prince hamlet was being real friendly with Ofilia if you know what i mean and Ofelia was visually uncomfortable with Hamlets prosuite. He was extremely high energy dancing around, seeming like he couldn’t stay still for not even a second. He was talking at a hundred words per second with his mind racing all over the place and when talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern he got distracted by an instrument called the recorder and in that same conversation his excitement and high energy drastically turns into agitation. Then in the next scene Hamlet makes an attempt to kill Claudius.

Excessive engagement in pleasurable activities, disruptive in relationships, High energy and very talkative, Easily distracted mind racing, and drastic mood swings, All of which are extreme examples of what a manic episode would be like. Now you can’t diagnose that Hamlet has a disorder without proof that it is interrupting his daily life. Take his relationship with his mother. He has been very distant of her and when we see him with her alone he has one of his episodes where his mood quickly in an instant change becomes angry and almost violent to his mother. He has trouble coming into new relationships seen with him and Ofilia and of course the very end where Prince Hamlet in a ploy to kill his Uncle the new King kills everyone he loves including himself. So, Prince Hamlet does have Bipolar Disorder. There is sufficient evidence that he has had both depressive episodes and manic episodes. He has many other symptoms also associated with having Bipolar disorder and his Disorder has and did disrupt his ability to make meaningful relationships and hinder his daily life and his life in general. It all leads to the conclusion that Prince Hamlet did, in fact, suffer from Bipolar Disorder.

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The Psychoanalytic Approach to Shakespeare'S Hamlet. (2020, May 14). Retrieved June 6, 2023 , from

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