Personality and the Self
Self-concept theorists will understand exactly why the prince takes five long acts to make up his famous mind. The discrepancies in the protagonist’s self-concept among his actual self (represented by his present state of inaction), his ideal self (the tenets of conventional morality), and his ought self (the demands of a pagan Nordic tradition) need to be reconciled and accepted in self-knowledge. Only then can his emotional distress be alleviated. The internal conflict raging in Hamlet’s mind can also be interpreted as strife between the rational and the emotional, or between the dual selves of the ego and the id. The outcome of this torment is selfevaluation and self-knowledge because, to quote Willeford (1987), “all knowledge of the self is emotional” (p. 42). The same connection was made by Jung in 1907, when he wrote, “the essential basis of our personality is affectivity” (in Willeford, 1987, p. 42).