Hamlet's Behavior in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Hamlet's behavior affects that of the other characters in the play in that his action drastically alters, not only their perception of Hamlet and his intentions, but also their actions and words in dealing with Hamlet. It is difficult to classify Hamlet as either sane or insane; however, it is certain that his mad behavior, whether feigned or authentic, serves only to heighten the confusion and eventual suspicion of the court, particularly Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, and Polonius and Claudius duo.
Hamlet's mental state is hard to decipher due to the complexity of the issue and the variety of ways his actions can be viewed. Edward Strachey believes that Hamlet is, "…A character made of many elements, ramifying themselves in many directions, some being healthy and some diseased" (Strachey 173). Strachey goes on to say that an attempt to classify Hamlet as either mad or sane is an, "…Over simplification of what is most complex" (Strachey 173).
At the beginning of Hamlet, Ophelia tells her father about the vows of love that Hamlet has expressed to her. Polonius immediately questions Hamlet's intentions and reminds Ophelia that making a rash decision could cost her; but Ophelia assures her father that, "…He hath importuned me with love In honorable fashion…And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord, With almost all the holy vows of heaven" (Shakespeare 17). However, after Hamlet visits Ophelia in a crazed state she immediately turns to her Father and reports Hamlet in a much darker light.
Lord Hamlet with his doublet all unbraced,No hat upon his head, his stocking fouled, Ungartered and down-gyved to his ankle, Pale as a shirt, his knees knoc...
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...t for revenge. If Hamlet is indeed truly mad then he alerts his foes to this information and they in turn become very circumspect of Hamlet and his plans. Hamlet's madness serves to call attention to himself and raise suspicions of his enemies.
Coleridge, Samuel Traylor. "Notes on the Tragedies of
Shakespeare: The Character of Hamlet." Shakespearean Criticism. Ed, Thomas Middleton Raysor. Vol. 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1930. 40.
Lennox, Charlotte. Shakespeare, the Critical Heritage.
Ed, Brian Vickers. New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976. 129.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Norton Critical Edition.
Ed, Cyrus Hoy. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1992.
Strachey, Edward. A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare:
Hamlet. Ed, Horace Howard Furness. Vol. IV. J.B. Lippincott Company, 1877. 173.
Throughout the play, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, the unclear representation of the protagonist’s actions is present. The protagonist, Hamlet, conducts the idea that he is turning mad. Although, there are many indications which support that this so-called “madness” is part of an act that Hamlet portrays. The other characters within the play try to understand the reasoning behind Hamlet’s madness, but cannot figure out the truth behind it. The main cause of Hamlet’s madness is the realization of his father’s death and the numerous influences his father’s death has on his life. Hamlet can control his actions of madness and specifically acts differently around certain characters. The characters who are more concerned
In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet the main character Hamlet experiences many different and puzzling emotions. He toys with the idea of killing himself and then plays with the idea of murdering others. Many people ask themselves who or what is this man and what is going on inside his head. The most common question asked about him is whether or not he is sane or insane. Although the door seems to swing both ways many see him as a sane person with one thought on his mind, and that is revenge. The first point of his sanity is while speaking with Horatio in the beginning of the play, secondly is the fact of his wittiness with the other characters and finally, his soliloquy.
Hamlet can be considered no worse than an eccentric, determined, and possibly single-minded man, who was made so by his father?s murder and his request for revenge. His feigned madness is maintained because it allows him to continue with his plans. This madness is not, however, sustained when guard is unnecessary. Maybe Hamlet thought too much, but he thought as a sane man would. He commits no actions without reason, and he is far too astute and organized to be proclaimed mentally unstable. Hamlet?s portrayal of a madman is also very complex because it allows not only his points to be made, but in a believably insane way, which contrasts greatly with the expected ramblings of a truly insane person.
Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the main character, Hamlet, must seek revenge for the murder of his father. Hamlet decides to portray an act of insanity, as part of his plan to murder Claudius. Throughout the play, Hamlet becomes more and more believable in his act, even convincing his mother that he is crazy. However, through his thoughts, and actions, the reader can see that he is in fact putting up an act, he is simply simulating insanity to help fulfil his fathers duty of revenge. Throughout the play, Hamlet shows that he understands real from fake, right from wrong and his enemies from his friends. Even in his madness, he retorts and is clever in his speech and has full understanding of what if going on around him. Most importantly, Hamlet does not think like that of a person who is mad. Hamlet decides to portray an act of insanity, as part of his plan to seek revenge for his fathers murder.
Shakespeare, William. The Three-Text Hamlet. Eds. Paul Bertram and Bernice Kliman. New York: AMS Press, 1991.
Shakespeare 's play "Hamlet" is about a complex protagonist, Hamlet, who faces adversity and is destined to murder the individual who killed his father. Hamlet is a character who although his actions and emotions may be one of an insane person, in the beginning of the book it is clear that Hamlet decides to fake madness in order for his plan to succeed in killing Claudius. Hamlet is sane because throughout the play he only acts crazy in front of certain people, to others he acts properly and displays proper prince like behavior who is able to cope with them without sounding crazy, and even after everything that has been going on in his life he is able to take revenge by killing his
Throughout the Shakespearian play, Hamlet, the main character is given the overwhelming responsibility of avenging his father’s "foul and most unnatural murder" (I.iv.36). Such a burden can slowly drive a man off the deep end psychologically. Because of this, Hamlet’s disposition is extremely inconsistent and erratic throughout the play. At times he shows signs of uncontrollable insanity. Whenever he interacts with the characters he is wild, crazy, and plays a fool. At other times, he exemplifies intelligence and method in his madness. In instances when he is alone or with Horatio, he is civilized and sane. Hamlet goes through different stages of insanity throughout the story, but his neurotic and skeptical personality amplifies his persona of seeming insane to the other characters. Hamlet comes up with the idea to fake madness in the beginning of the play in order to confuse his enemies. However, for Hamlet to fulfill his duty of getting revenge, he must be totally sane. Hamlet’s intellectual brilliance make it seem too impossible for him to actually be mad, for to be insane means that one is irrational and without any sense. When one is irrational, one is not governed by or according to reason. So, Hamlet is only acting mad in order to plan his revenge on Claudius.
Shakespeare's play "Hamlet" is about a complex protagonist, Hamlet, who faces adversity and is destined to murder the individual who killed his father. Hamlet is a character who although his actions and emotions may be one of an insane person, in the beginning of the book it is clear that Hamlet decides to fake madness in order for his plan to succeed in killing Claudius. Hamlet is sane because throughout the play he only acts crazy in front of certain people, to others he acts properly and displays proper prince like behavior who is able to cope with them without sounding crazy, and even after everything that has been going on in his life he is able to take revenge by killing his father's murderer. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare Hamlet is sane but acts insane to fulfill his destiny of getting vengeance on his father's murderer.
..., disrespect the girl he loves, and dress in a manner that is unlike him. Hamlet’s primary motive in life becomes to obtain revenge for his father’s death. He is no longer concerned with upholding the image that he once had. Hamlet’s madness ultimately consumes him.
Shakespeare, William, Marilyn Eisenstat, and Ken Roy. Hamlet. 2nd ed. Toronto: Harcourt Canada, 2003. Print.
The perfection of Hamlet’s character has been called in question - perhaps by those who do not understand it. The character of Hamlet stands by itself. It is not a character marked by strength of will or even of passion, but by refinement of thought and sentiment. Hamlet is as little of the hero as a man can be. He is a young and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility - the sport of circumstances, questioning with fortune and refining on his own feelings, and forced from his natural disposition by the strangeness of his situation.