Hamlet Character Analysis

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Hamlet is one of the most iconic plays that has been studied in depth for over 400 years. With themes of tragedy, love, revenge, family and many more, the play causes a reader to ask questions that can be only answered by Shakespeare. One of these questions is whether Hamlet is truly sane or not throughout the play. Hamlets acting as a different personality over a lengthy period of time eventually leads to his unstable state of mind. Through the progress of the play, his decision-making skills are terribly affected resulting is consequences on himself and others, proving that he is a mad man.

Hamlets reason for madness is difficult to determine for it is concealed in his mind, developing gradually over time. His first insane decision was choosing to act mad when the ghost had told him that his father was murdered by his uncle, Claudius. The plan to act worked well for him until he slowly began to fall deep into a dark tunnel within his mind eventually losing control. From simply being an act of insanity, Hamlets actions became less of an act and he began to face the consequences in reality leading to the final Act V tragedy.

Even before Hamlet had his encounter with the ghost, he was already set in an angry mood from the death of his father. He stated his grief to his mother about the death of Old Hamlet; “But I have that within which passeth show, these but the trappings and the suits of woe,” (Act I.2 – 85). Hamlet explained that he had more grief inside himself that people would not able to see on the surface and that the black clothes he wore were just a hint of the sorrow he suffered. In addition to that, the quick marriage of his mother to his uncle worsened Hamlets state of mind. The incestuous news w...

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...d, not acting mad, his mind was capable to do anything he wished.

Overall, Hamlet should have chosen a different path that would not have disturb his loving character. If he had done so, he would have avoided the death of his mother and his love, Ophelia. He would have most likely lived himself and he would have been able to make better choices such as to seek help. However, at the end of the day, Hamlet deciding to “put an antic disposition on” (Act I.5 – 171) results in him becoming truly insane.

Works Cited

1. Cliffsnotes, "Hamlet Character Analysis." Accessed May 4, 2014.

2. Michalko , Michael. The Creativity Post, "You Become What You Pretend to Be." Last modified Jan 10, 2012. Accessed May 4, 2014.
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