the Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by William Shakespeare, the sane Hamlet occasionally switches between the realms of sanity and insanity. When madness suits Hamlet's purpose, he puts on an "antic disposition" (I.V.173). On the other hand, when sanity proves worthy, Hamlet reverts back to being logical. Hamlet claims he is "mad north-north-west" (II.ii.376), meaning he is mad sometimes and sane other times. Therefore, to achieve his short-term goals, Hamlet shifts between sanity and insanity, which ironically, slows his overarching goal of revenge.
In act I, scene V of the play, the audience learns of the “antic disposition” that Hamlet will be putting on (Shakespeare). In this scene, he tells the audience that he plans to act insane in order to get away with killing Claudius. He believes that by acting insane no one will suspect him of doing anything such as that. To many critics the “whole conduct of Hamlet’s madness is too ludicrous” and in fact he has really gone mad ( Stubbers). For Hamlet to come out and say that he is planning to act insane is, on the other hand, “purely and adequately a man of genius” (Strachey).
Hamlet then states: "How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself, As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on..." (Crowther 1:5) From this we learn that his madness is only part of his plan to kill Claudius. Only a sane man could devise such a thought-out, rational plan. Hamlet's act of feigning madness allows him to speak his mind while everyone believes it is truly out of insanity. This allows Hamlet to vent some of his true feelings in relative safety without fear of suspicion. On the other hand, Hamlet acts sane when acting insane is unnecessary.
Polonius believes Hamlet to be truly mad when in actuality Hamlet is fooling Polonius into thinking he is mad. In the same scene, Hamlet’s second soliloquy displays a seed of rational thinking. Hamlet plots a way to catch “the conscience of the King” (line 531). He plans to put on a play so that “the guilty creatures” will be “struck so to the soul” that they will “proclaim their malefactions” (line 516-518). A truly insane person would not have enough cognitive... ... middle of paper ... ...r is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table.”(line 19-24).
Hamlet’s madness is questionable through Hamlet’s actions of real madness, feigned actions, and the reactions and opinions others have towards his madness. Throughout the play Hamlet’s acts antic dispositions progressively lead his downfall from feigned actions to real madness and the reactions of others to his actions further prove his state of mind as being unstable. .His madness becomes his overall reality throughout his journey to avenge the death of his father.
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.
Polonius, because he wishes to gain the favor of the new king by proving his own worth, is determined to find the reason for Hamlet’s madness. He thus spies on Hamlet and even forbids his daughter to see her. His connection to Claudius, and his spidery machinations are reasons for his downfall. &nbs... ... middle of paper ... ...nection with Claudius deserves to die and painfully if possible. Each character exhibits a tragic flaw that is fatal.
Therefore, to reach his goals, Hamlet switches between sanity and insanity. In the poem, Hamlet switches to insanity to achieve some of his goals. Hamlet uses his insanity to conquer his obstacles. Hamlet is only insane towards his enemies and his enemy’s allies. For example, Hamlet attacks Gertrude verbally and physically, because she is an obstacle to Hamlet.
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.
(II.ii.293-297). The actions of the characters in Hamlet, from Hamlet's decision whether or not to kill Claudius to Gertrude's willful ignorance of her husband's doings, all lead to the often-gruesome fates that they encounter. Vengeance drives the central plot of Hamlet, as Haml... ... middle of paper ... ...faking it to fool Claudius. In conclusion, Hamlet’s insanity is much more ambiguous than his outright statement of putting on an “antic disposition” would imply. There are several moments in the play where he shows that he cannot really control his behavior, and right from the start he seems to be extremely emotional and violent in his outbursts.