Hamlet's Sanity Throughout Shakespeare?s play, Hamlet, the main character, young Hamlet, is faced with the responsibility of attaining vengeance for his father?s murder. He decides to feign madness as part of his plan to gain the opportunity to kill Claudius. As the play progresses, his depiction of a madman becomes increasingly believable, and the characters around him react accordingly. However, through his inner thoughts and the apparent reasons for his actions, it is clear that he is not really mad and is simply an actor simulating insanity in order to fulfill his duty to his father. Hamlet only claims madness because it allows him to say and perform actions he otherwise would be prohibited from, while keeping people from taking his actions seriously. This seems to be part of his initial plan that is first mentioned when he asks Horatio and Marcellus not to make any remarks in relation to his ?antic disposition (1.5.192).? Hamlet?s madness allows him to talk to Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and Polonius in a manner unsuitable for a prince. He is often disrespectful and insulting in his remarks. Although his acting backfires during his speech to Gertrude, Hamlet is able to severely criticize her for her actions because she thinks he is insane. During the play he also makes many sexual innuendos and even blatantly sexual remarks towards Ophelia such as ?That?s a fair thought to lie between maids? legs (3.2.125).? His convincing insanity act gives him the chance to vent his anger towards Ophelia for her abandonment. Similarly, in another scene, he is able to tell Polonius his true feelings through his guise. Upon Polonius deciding to ?take leave? of Hamlet, Hamlet replies, ?You cannot, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal (2.2.233).? Furthermore, Hamlet uses his madness as almost an excuse, and definitely part of his apology, towards Laertes for his murdering of Polonious. Would a madman be able realize he was mad and call his actions uncontrollable? Were it not for his ?madness? he would have been reprimanded rather than feared, pitied, or ignored. Hamlet?s madness redirects attention away from what he is thinking about his father?s death, and puts it on why he has gone insane. This allows only himself to know what he is truly thinking, does not require him to answer any questions as to why he might be acting strange, a... ... middle of paper ... ...th him in case he is biased. A madman would not have had the foresight, reason, or possibly even care, to think in this very organized fashion. Even when questioning whether ?to be or not to be (3.1.64)? Hamlet is sane in his thinking. He measures the ?pros and cons? of his situation, and although at this point he appears mad to most everyone, he is most definitely sane in thought. 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. Bibliography: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Cyrus Hoy. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1992.
Through Hamlet's judgement and intellect, brilliant schemes, shrewdness, and profound notions, the reader can discern that Hamlet was not unhinged, but simply putting on a facade of madness. If Hamlet was insane, the great William Shakespeare would not have been able to lucidly get his points across to his audience. Hamlet should be displayed as a genius or a virtuoso with his acting ability, not a loon. Hamlet's exceptional wits is enough to prove his sanity. But in the long run, what is truly considered to be madness? And what is genius, if it is not madness? As the renowned Greek philosopher, Aristotle, once said, "No great mind has ever existed without some touch of madness."
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.
Is Hamlet truly insane? While the play is not extremely clear on the matter and often contradicts itself, many of Hamlet’s wild ramblings and words of nonsense seem to be not the true words of a madman. Hamlet says himself that he is merely “putting on an antic disposition” (Act 1, Scene 5, Line 181). He admits very early on in the play that his insanity will be nothing more than a ruse to fool those around him. This is further proven by the fact that when he is around Horatio he shows no signs of mental illness. He speaks calmly and everything he says makes sense.
I disagree with Gertrude's statement that Hamlet is mad. I ask you what the definition of madness, the relatively permanent disorder of the mind, a state of mind characterized by the inability to distinguish right from wrong. Indeed Hamlet only acts mad in front of certain people such as his mother, Polonius, Ophelia, Claudius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who he knows are spying on him.
The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare depicts the story of young Hamlet trying to avenge his deceased father who was killed by his uncle Claudius, who went on to claim the throne as his own and marry Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. This situation supposedly causes young Hamlet to succumb to madness and insanity. With this insanity, Hamlet and the rest of the royal family goes through a journey that causes Denmark to go into chaos. The play ends with the death of all the royal family and the prince of Norway, Fortinbras, taking over the throne and ruling Denmark. Madness is one of the central theme in the play and appears in many of the characters throughout the play: Ophelia mad with love, Laertes mad with revenge etc. But one character’s madness
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is known for being a sarcastic and overdramatic showman throughout Shakespeare’s play. His intention in doing this is to hide his true feelings from other characters. From the beginning, Hamlet allows everyone but Horatio to think he is mad, mourning the loss of his father while in actuality plotting his revenge by the advice of the ghost. Later, he even casts out the woman he loves by acting as if he never loved her in the first place. Hamlet’s first demonstrated instance of feigned madness comes in Act II Scene II during his conversation with Polonius. After pretending not to recognize Polonius, Hamlet proceeds to mock him, answering his questions irrationally, and ultimately confirming Polonius’ notion that Hamlet is not sane. This encounter demonstrates the depth and profundity of Hamlet’s mind, almost so much so that it could be debated that Hamlet is truly insane after all.
...l, those who truly believe in Hamlet’s madness have died, and the rest are either in cahoots with him, or plotting to kill him. In the Zefferelli film, Hamlet behaves foolishly because he is playing to the crowd. There are no textual allusions to madness. He is sound of mind and clear-headed; as soon as his mother dies, he springs into action and suddenly kills Claudius. Therefore, Hamlet, though he fears for his own sanity at first, eventually turns his alleged madness to his own advantage and succeeds at his task of revenge. Hamlet is an everyman character who must use his dramatic conflict to help define himself. He emerges from his strife not as a madman or ineffectual pawn, but as a hero can act for his own and his country’s safety. The tragedy is that, even though Hamlet succeeds at revenge, he must sacrifice his own life and with it, his country falls.
The theme of madness is broad, the word itself has many different definitions. In the play the only definition of madness is said by Polonius, “To define true madness, What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?” (II, ii, 93-94). In this quote Polonius defines madness as taking over your thoughts that you cannot focus on the things around you only the madness itself. This would mean that to go mad breaks you off from reality causing the person to not function as they had. As said in Emily Dickinson's quote pertaining to madness can also be faked to gain different benefits. This theme is prominently seen through the characters Hamlet and Ophelia. Hamlet puts on a persona of madness after the ghost tells him of his father’s true murder, to make certain that no one figures out what he is trying to do. This persona helps Hamlet to figure out if Claudius actually killed his father or if the ghost was trying to trick Hamlet. This persona had tricked both Claudius and Polonius into thinking he was mad. In contrast there were times where it had seemed that he was mad such as act three during his confrontation with Ophelia. During this confrontation Hamlet dragged
In the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare the reader gets to see how Hamlet's life pertains to his insanity. “In life of Hamlet as represented by Shakespeare we have a full history of a case of insanity, of a peculiar kind” (Kellogg). “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane” notes Philip K. Dick. Even though Hamlet is aware in the play there is a side to Hamlet that takes control of him. Though Hamlet often demonstrates awareness; his mind ultimately succumbs to insanity, which brings about his tragic end.
...sane because he is fully aware of his surroundings and before acting he always rationalizes everything. He fakes madness so he can say and do things that a mad man would do, but internally he is aware of what he is doing and we know he is not insane but he acts crazy in front of certain people. His way of thinking is like a normal individual's, if an individual was crazy they would not be thinking everything through and if someone were crazy they would definitely not have the capabilities of outsmarting someone, like how Hamlet outsmarted Claudius. All these reasons and much more are why Hamlet is not insane, he is as sane of an individual as any other, but unlike others he had to go through a lot of emotional pain and a sense of abandonment to reach a successful point in his life.
Hamlet’s so called friends and family all thought that Hamlet had gone mad and was in the wrong about many things. Hamlet may have done crazy things at times, but was he truly senseless? Some things can be argued to a point, but this topic is not one. You could argue if Hamlet was truly sane or insane for a long long time. There is enough textual evidence for people to go through three times and still find new evidence from the story supporting either point. Although, I believe Hamlet was not mad. I think he was not mentally insane because his Uncle, Claudius, killed King Hamlet, he had a lot going on amid Ophelia and his friends, and he was deciding the variety of options he had to make.
He appears to vary in how mad he is, sometimes appearing completely sane, and sometimes more insane. His madness is mostly portrayed through his ramblings at the other characters, or through soliloquies. Originally Hamlet was only feining madness in order to reach his goals and discover if Claudius was really the one who killed father. He decides this after meeting the ghost of his dead father: “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on-...”(Hamlet: 1.5.171-172).The other characters pick up on his “madness” as the play progresses further. They were all curious as to the cause of Hamlet’s madness. Polonius and Claudius believe it may be caused by the lack of contact with Ophelia that they had caused, whereas Gertrude’s first thought was that it was to do with his father’s death. Hamlet keeps up his act throughout the whole play, calling Polonius a fishmonger at one point, and also when he berated his ex-girlfriend Ophelia, even stating that she should go to a nunnery. She comments on Hamlet after his rant: “Oh what noble mind is overthrown…”(Ophelia 3.1.144). She starts to believe he has really gone mad, and that he truly does not care about her anymore. This also becomes a problem for the kingdom, as Hamlet is a royal and the heir to the throne, so having madness could be potentially calamitous for all of them. Shortly after
When Hamlet is completing the arrangements for the play, Hamlet says, “I must be idle.” (3.2.85). This is clearly a declaration of his intention to act foolish. Then, when speaking to his mother, he assures her that he is not mad and says, “I essentially am not mad in madness, but mad in craft.” (3.4.187). Furthermore, Hamlet’s madness had only manifested itself in the presence of certain characters. Around Gertrude, Polonius, Claudius, Rosencratz, Guildenstern, and Ophelia, he behaves irrationally. While he behaves rationally around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players, and the Gravediggers. Act 3 also contains Hamlet’s most famous speech that begins with “To be or not to be: that is the question” (3.1.64). In his third soliloquy Hamlet seems to be governed by reason and has even less frenzied emotion than the first two. This speech is his internal philosophical debate on the advantages and disadvantages of existence. While this soliloquy may seem like madness on the surface, it actually works to dispel the notion that Hamlet is truly mad. It makes clear the fact that Hamlet still has his senses and his madness is simply an antic. In this act, the king also becomes suspicious of Hamlet’s madness and is never quite convinced of it. His instructions to his henchmen from earlier in the play, “Get from him why he puts on this confusion” (2.1.2), imply that he perceives it as a pretense. He
Madness is a condition that is difficult to distinguish between true and false. As in the encounter of the ghost of Hamlet 's father with Hamlet, Hamlet is asked to avenge his father 's death. To accomplish this task in a less apparent manner, Hamlet decides to feign madness. In the long run, Hamlet truly does go insane. Consequently, his behavior thereafter is frequently unfathomable. William Shakespeare, the writer of the tragic play, Hamlet, leaves Hamlet 's sanity up to interpretation. Throughout Shakespeare 's Hamlet, Hamlet 's questionable madness is explored through his real madness, feigned actions, and the reactions of others towards his madness.
In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main character, Hamlet, is often perceived by the other characters in the play as being mentally unbalanced because he acts in ways that drive them to think he is mad. Hamlet may very well be psychotic; however, there are times when he “feigns insanity” in order to unearth the truth surrounding his father's death. This plan seems to be going well until Hamlet's mental state slowly begins to deteriorate. What began as an act of insanity or antic disposition transitions from an act to a tragic reality. After studying Hamlet's actions, one will notice that as the play progresses, his feigned insanity becomes less and less intentional and devolves into true mental illness.