Indecision of Hamlet's Madness Being Real or Feigned in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Indecision of Hamlet's Madness Being Real or Feigned in Shakespeare's Hamlet "That unmatched form and feature of blown youth Blasted with ecstasy. Oh woe is me T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see." (Act III, Scene 1, lines 168-170) Ophelia begins to mentally collapse at the beginning of Act III after Hamlet says that he never loved her. This part of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," when Ophelia goes insane, is one of the most well known scenes. However, those who haven't read the play in its entirety won't necessarily know that one of the most prominent, under-lying themes throughout the play is that of madness. Although madness in each infected Shakespeare character is caused by different circumstances, the fact that they have gone mad greatly affects the outcome of this tragedy. Hamlet's madness could easily be doubted. When Hamlet visited Ophelia before Act II, Scene I, his madness was actually that of love. He burst into her room with "knees knocking each other" and with a "look so piteous in purport as if he had been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors." According to Ophelia, she isn't positive his madness was out of love, but she admits, "...truly I do fear it." Hamlet later plays the part of the lunatic, acting contemptuous, witty, and sarcastic when he meets Polonius in the lobby in Act II, Scene II. Hamlet is completely incapable of organized speech and of understanding the most forthright questions. This type of madness is entirely unlike that which he displayed when he visited Ophelia. Later again, when he meets up with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet switches from the deranged act to the depressed one. He tells them of his weariness and misery, but says that he doesn't understand the cause of it. These three different types of madness within only a couple of hours and the impression that Hamlet is unable to uphold a performance of consistent madness is very odd. Perhaps he was doing this on purpose, but when he acts mad and gets his life deeply involved in acting mad, where is the line drawn that Hamlet is acting, or that he is acting so well that he begins to adapt to the madness and he is actually mad? Queen Gertrude suspected Hamlet went mad because of 'his father's death and [his mother's] o'verhasty marriage' to Claudius.

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