Hamlet’s Catch-22

A Psychoanalytic Reading of Hamlet and Catch-22

in Critical Survey
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The double-bind dilemma that Hamlet is engulfed in places him in a catch-22 situation from which there seems to be no way out. Locked in a psychological impasse exacerbated by a deficient Oedipal process due to the father’s death and mother’s remarriage, he is driven into (feigning) insanity, a situation that brings him close to Yossarian, Heller’s paranoid antihero who is as much inept in the face of the paternalistic ordeal he is subjected to as an army fighter. Evading the fear of castration on the one hand and becoming consumed with guilt for the incompetence to face the trial on the other give rise to problematic identities of both protagonists and numerous evasive strategies they plot. Nevertheless, through mainly linguistic/textual acts of defiance, these initially victimized subjects to the law of the father turn into rebels, mastering and thus making the Symbolic order backfire on itself.

Contributor Notes

Bahareh Azad is a Ph.D. student and instructor at University of Isfahan, Iran. In her politically oriented academic researches on liberal humanism and posthumanism, she has focused on anti-establishment works on Native America, the Middle East or Developing World issues either by activists form peripheral cultures or by British or American authors of the political centre.

Pyeaam Abbasi is assistant professor of English literature at University of Isfahan, Iran. His work focuses on the study of Romantic poets and Shakespeare’s plays.