Hamlet Research Paper

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Madness is defined as a mental condition that impedes rational judgement and causes one to act in a non-socially acceptable manner. Although the protagonist, Hamlet, in Shakespeare’s Hamlet does display signs of a mental disorder, it is clear that Hamlet feigns his madness in order to manipulate those associated with the King to seek his revenge. His use of manipulation, coupled with his clever use of wit, further aid in emphasizing that Hamlet is not mad.
There are strong arguments to make the case that Hamlet was in fact, mentally deranged. The 19th century perspective claimed that Hamlet was a in fact a madman. One of the major reasons for their conclusions was Hamlet’s willingness to take his own life. “In Shakespeare’s day, suicide was a crime, and unless the person who took his own life could be proved to have been mentally deranged, he died a felon…”(Bynum and Neve 393). In the play, Hamlet could be viewed as deranged because he steps over the bounds of Renaissance sanity and is willing to take his own life. Hamlet’s first willingness to attempt suicide is shown in his first soliloquy in which he states, “Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd ,His canon 'gainst self-slaughter”(I.ii.129-133). This depicts Hamlet’s dissatisfaction with the dramatic changes that have occurred in his life most recently and how he seeks to escape these changes. Since he cannot return to Wittenberg, suicide is his only other way. One of the more iconic examples of Hamlet’s suicidal tendencies is shown in his “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Hamlet muses on the pain of life, which he sees as inevitable, and the possibility of death and suicide to escape all problem...

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...question around and charges Gertrude with offending her late husband by marrying his brother. Hamlet’s most exemplary demonstration of wit occurs when Hamlet discovers the papers for the King of England that order Hamlet to be executed. Acting quick on his feet, Hamlet rewrites the papers and uses the King’s official stamp so that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are to be executed. By doing so, Hamlet demonstrates that he is able to outsmart the King. The future that Claudius envisioned for Hamlet has been passed on to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, thus allowing Hamlet to escape unscathed.
Although it appears that Hamlet suffers from a mental condition that impedes rational judgement, this is not the case. Instead, Hamlet feigns his insanity to wreak his revenge on King Claudius. The fact that Hamlet is manipulative and witty reinforce the idea that he is sane.

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