How does Pathological Narcissism apply to William Shakespeare's Hamlet? A critical analysis of Hamlet through the lens of Pathological Narcissism, using theories contemporary to the Elizabethan and Modern Era.
(2014) How does Pathological Narcissism apply to William Shakespeare's Hamlet? A critical analysis of Hamlet through the lens of Pathological Narcissism, using theories contemporary to the Elizabethan and Modern Era., no. 51.
This study critically analyses the character of Hamlet using two differing interpretations of the play from the Modern and the Elizabethan eras. Their respective theories are applied to the character, whereupon the results are viewed and screened for narcissistic tendencies. The Borderline Condition of Pathological Narcissism emerges as a possible explanation for Hamlet's actions and cognitive thinking patterns. Within the Elizabethan era, during which the Shakespearian play was written and to whose audiences it was originally presented, two main systems of belief dominate philosophical thinking, namely, The Great Chain of Being and The Four Humours. In terms of these belief systems, human existence is influenced by external factors, imposing order and balance in that society. Hamlet is then analysed from the perspective of the Modern era (1800s - 2000s), where various explanations of the text have been extensively written using psychoanalytic theories, in terms of which the mind is understood with reference to internal factors, specifically, Hamlet's Delay and the Subconscious. The study continues with the Greek Myth of Narcissus, where the personality trait of Narcissism was born, and explores the Borderline Condition known as Pathological Narcissism and it's subtype, Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The study concludes by suggesting possible links between the theories of both eras and Pathological Narcissism with reference to the character of Hamlet. This study is intended to provide a new perspective and thereby a deeper understanding in future works/portrayals of Hamlet on stage and screen.