The Time Is Out of Joint: Hamlet Speaks to the Dead

Kasey Evans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter argues that Hamlet's oracular proclamation that “the time is out of joint” refers not exclusively to the temporal trap of revenge, but also and analogously to the psychic predicament he creates by idealizing his late father. To protect this paternal imago, Hamlet must repeatedly disavow the knowledge of bodily mortality and corruption that the tragedy forces him to confront. Building on psychoanalytically informed analyses of Hamlet's encounters with the ghost and with the exhumed bones in the graveyard in Act 5, I argue that Hamlet repeatedly tries and fails to protect a “spectral” relation to the ghost of his father from a “necrological” relation to the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Psychoanalytic Readings of Shakespeare
Subtitle of host publicationCool Reason and Seething Brains
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000910193
ISBN (Print)9781032308296
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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