ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Psychological Approach to Shakespeare and his Works

Updated on April 4, 2020
anupma profile image

Life is a tale told by an Idiot. I believe completely in this quotation.

What is Psychological Criticism?

"Writing is revelation of unconscious mind."

So any book that you read is a storehouse of unconscious and of course conscious thoughts of an author. Psychological criticism inspects the mind of author as well as of characters of any book. It states why the book is written and how the mind of characters force them to behave in a particular manner.

Sigmund Freud is known as the father of psychoanalytic criticism. He has given many theories regarding mind and its role in making personality. Some of his theories are-

1.Structure of Human Mind-

- Id


- Super ego

2. Psycho-sexual Stages of Development

-Oral Stage

- Anal Stag

- Phallic Stage (Oedipus Complex)

- Latency Stage

- Genital Stage

3. Talk Therapy

4. Personality Driving Force Therapy

5. Dream Analysis

6. Defense Mechanism

These theories play pivotal role in literature. Although his some theories are not out-rightly rejected by modern theorist and psychoanalysts, but still they are the foundation of Psychological criticism.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare does not need any introduction. Everyone knows him. He is known as the father of English drama. He wrote around 38 dramas including tragedy, comedy, tragi-comedy and historical drama. He was fantastic dramatist in all the types of drama, but he is most famous for tragedy. His four most famous tragedies are- Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Macbeth. His tragedies are one man show and in fact the hero has only one flaw that causes hero's death in the end of the drama. For example Hamlet is always in dilemma 'to do or not to do' Macbeth was over-ambitious.


Shakespeare: A Psychological Approach

Psychological criticism is peculiar to the present century, which is dominated by psycho-analysis, even though it was clearly initiated by a set of medical critics and psychological investigators in England and Germany in the nineteenth century, who studied the problem of madness in Shakespeare’s tragic figures, the malignity of Iago and the procrastination of Hamlet. Freudian depth psychology has provided new dimension to Shakespeare’s knowledge of human nature and aided the defenders of Shakespeare immensely against the onslaught of Stoll and others that the figures of the great dramatist are a compound of contradictions.

Freudian psychology has supplied new tools and terminology to the critics of Shakespeare which have been effectively used to unravel the mysteries of characters and motives. The best know illustration of this approach is provided, of course, by Dr. Jones’ attempt to apply Oedipus complex to account for the delay of Hamlet.

From Hamlet, however, he passes on to Shakespeare, in a sweeping remark that behind Ophelia stands the mother of Hamlet and behind Hamlet’s mother stands the mother of Shakespeare, which means that Hamlets’ Oedipus complex is a dramatization of Shakespeare’s own complex and the writing of the play was a catharsis of the writers’ own repressed impulses. This is a typical case of the Freudian approach which ultimately comes to a sort of detective investigation of literature to collect all possible clues to the latent neurosis of the author.

Hamlet: The most evaluated psychoanalytic Text

Hamlet is the one of the famous tragedies of English literature. This text is base book of Shakespeare for psychoanalytic critics. They apply Oedipus complex to the character of Hamlet. They assure that this is the only cause behind Hamlets' delay in taking revenge of the murder of his father King Hamlet. Even some critics compare prince hamlet to the modern men who always take more than required time in taking any decision.

Oedipus Complex

Check your Knowledge

view quiz statistics

Famous Quotes of Shakespeare

1. All that litter is not gold.

2. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten these little hands.

3. Life is a tale told by an idiot.

4. Fair is foul; and foul is fair

5. We know what we are, but know not what we may be.

6.All the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players.

7. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.
8. Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant never taste of death but once.
9. If music be the food of love, play on.

10. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)