A Complex Identity: The Inner Self, the Outer Self and the Mad Self

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A Complex Identity: the Inner Self, the Outer Self, and the Mad Self

It is often assumed that people act differently from themselves when they are in the company of others in order to make an impression. This begs the question of when one is acting as himself, and what defines what his true personality is. If a man is complex and dynamic, then isn’t he some form of himself because he himself is the one acting? In his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare illustrates how both inner identity and the public identity are dynamic and must both exist for either to exist, and likewise shows how Hamlet’s public madness is a product of his inner craft. By interconnecting traits of madness with brilliance and intentional behavior with candid thought, Shakespeare formulates Hamlet's versatile identity to reflect the complex nature of human identity.

Inner Self
Hamlet explains to his mother “it is not madness/ that I have uttered. Bring me to the test, / and I the matter will reword, which madness / would gambol from” (3.4.163-165). When it serves his purpose to force Gertrude to seriously consider his words, he admits to her that it isn’t madness that is controlling his words (rather his words that control his madness), and that he can prove it by explaining himself, which a man who was speaking from madness couldn’t do. He admits to his mother, himself, and the audience that “[he] essentially [is] not in madness, / but mad in craft” (3.4.208-210). Here he is intentionally, for a short moment and for a purpose, displaying his character as he would to himself. This is the aspect that connects his inner and outer existence. It is the character trait that he admits and that others have determined from his communications. Though he forms a new pu...

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...presentations of revenge in the play. You use this analysis to your advantage in the writing; however, I think there is a chance to explore the power of one revenge over another a little more.

I like the quotes you use, but because you are using them to characterize the motivations of these men, I think there is more room to explore the language. The examples you use support your thinking about the nature of each man’s revenge.

There were some minor errors (mostly punctuating complex sentences) that I highlighted; none of them impeded meaning. Review the handout or ask me if you are confused about those complex sentences with the dependent clauses. Regardless, and I think I’ve told you this before, you have a passionate and clear rhetoric that makes your writing engaging to read.


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