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“Thus Conscience Does Make Cowards of Us All:” Hamlet’s Freudian Sense of Guilt

“Thus Conscience Does Make Cowards of Us All:” Hamlet’s Freudian Sense of Guilt

By Macy Quigg

In Civilization and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud imagines the origin of guilt in humans and how it evolves into a more complex conscience. He posits that guilt stems from a fear of the loss of the father’s love when a child recognizes that they have done something bad and may be found out.