preview

Hamlet Essay

Satisfactory Essays
Madness in Shakespearean plays is a condition that is very hard to be identified whether it is real or not. Shakespeare uses it a lot. Each one oh his characters experience the state of madness, at least at one point of the play. However, the truth always remains a mystery because Shakespeare likes to leave things to readers to decide what is going to happen.

In the beginning of “Hamlet”, the ghost of Hamlet's father appears on the scene, and asks Hamlet to avenge his death. By that he is put in a position where he had to accomplish that task, but in secrecy, so he decides to fake his madness. His behavior and moods throughout the play frequently change. So, Shakespeare basically leaves the audience to decide whether Hamlet is truly mad or not. Throughout Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet's questionable madness is explored through his real madness, actions, and the reactions of others towards his behavior.

In some cases, Hamlet's madness can be seen as real. For example, when he attempts to kill Claudius, but kills Polonius. In addition, Hamlet murders without sight of what he is doing, which displays his loss of reason for being mad. Also, we see evidence of Hamlet being mad even before he starts to ‘act like being mad.’ As is evident in the beginning of the play, Horatio and Marcellus tried to hold Hamlet back, but Hamlet rebelled. Hamlet said, "Still am I called. Unhand me, gentlemen--/ Heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me!/ I say, away" (1.4, 84-86). Hamlet risked a lot, without thinking about possible consequences. While walking towards the ghost, Hamlet shows the behavior of toughness, the characteristic of madness. Further evidence of his madness is seen when he denies doing what he is told to do, as well as his ov...

... middle of paper ...

...ough Hamlet's real madness, artificial actions, and the reactions of others. By providing few stage directions, Shakespeare leaves the reader to make his own interpretation. The audience is left with Hamlet's words and actions and the reactions of others to determine if Hamlet's madness is in fact contrived or real. These parts of evidence are lacking in clearly defining Shakespeare's complex character Hamlet. Additionally, to better understand the reactions of the characters in the play, the modern audience must familiarize itself with the Renaissance way of thinking, since the play was written during that time period for that audience. Nevertheless, the complication of the character and the modern audience's way of thinking altogether hinders to know truly if Hamlet is mad. As a result, Hamlet's madness can be best understood only through one's own interpretation.