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Essay on Hamlet's Insanity; Real or Feigned

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Hamlet returns to Denmark because of his father’s death. When returning he soon finds out his mother remarried to his uncle Claudius, who takes the throne and becomes king. Hamlet not fully recuperated from his father’s death finds it even more troubling to understand his mother’s remarriage. After seeing his father’s ghost, Hamlet plans to put on an anti-disposition. Although at first Hamlet acts crazy, he later becomes mentally unstable and wants to commit suicide. Ophelia too was insane, but she kept it to herself while Hamlet contemplated suicide. Both characters were insane even though Ophelia committed suicide and Hamlet thought about suicide. Hamlet first created an antic-disposition; but family, grief, and psyche caused his antic to become reality.
Hamlet had many reasons to put on an antic-disposition, first and foremost was to seek revenge for the death of his father. The next reason was so that he could plan revenge so that he wouldn’t hurt his mother, who he at one point was in love with. Hamlet carefully planned to revenge his father, in doing so he made sure he would not hurt his mother. Although Polonius, father of Ophelia, was not directly related to Hamlet and Gertrude it was much easier for Hamlet to exert all his emotions and anger on Polonius. “It is much easier for Hamlet to behave aggressively toward this man than toward his mother or uncle, especially when his behavior must be excused as madness” (Paris 45). One of Hamlet’s reasons to “harm” Polonius is because he has hurt Hamlet by not allowing Ophelia to be happy with him. Another reason is because there was no other way for Hamlet to let out his anger towards his mother’s remarriage. Paris also mentions that “Hamlet’s hostility is that Polonius serves as...


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...isn’t the only reason why Hamlet was insane, family was is also the reason why Hamlet is considered truly insane. Gertrude had sent to get Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to help figure out what was going on with Hamlet. “In Shakespeare’s time, just as today, when a person was depressed, his family and friends tried to keep him from morbid preoccupations by providing diversions, and to find out if there was anything that was troubling him that could be remedied” (Lidz 45). If Hamlet would be acting, it would be a bit more apparent that his psychosis was planned and not real. There would also be no need for Gertrude to try to investigate her son’s depression.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts. 9th Ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print


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