The Mood Swings of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Mood Swings of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Hamlet has mood swings as his mood changes openly throughout the play. Towards

certain people he acts certain ways. Hamlet appears to act mad when he hears of his

father's murder. No one knows if his madness is a show like he says or real like it seems.

It seems as if there are two Hamlets in the play. One that is sensitive and an ideal prince

and the insane uncivilized Hamlet, who from an outburst of passion and rage slays

Polonius with no feeling of remorse and then talks about lugging his guts into another

room. This is why I say Hamlets madness is less than madness and more than pretend.

Hamlet says he is just acting mad when he states, "I am but mad north-north-west:

when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw." (II,ii,380-381). Admitting so

easily that he is only pretending to be mad, this would suggest that he is comfortable with

his madness. Hamlet also seems to be generally comfortable with acting crazy in this case.

It is puzzling that at this point Hamlet is comfortable with acting, but not with the role that

he said he would play earlier of killing Claudius. This brought on his madness in the first


Hamlet's behavior throughout the play especially towards Ophelia is unsuitable.

She describes Hamlet's extremely strange behavior when he came into her room wearing

sordid pants, unbuckled around his ankles. His face, pale as death, knees shaking with the

fear of hell, the actions of an insane person not those of a sane person pretending to be

insane just so they can take revenge on their father's killer. Hamlet also does something

we wouldn?t expect. He jumps into the grave of Ophelia's and fights with Laertes about

who lo...

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...when it comes down to the point of madness Hamlet may

have been pretending at the beginning and thinks he still is pretending but really he is mad

and can?t stop himself. By Hamlet pretending to be insane, his insane actions cost him his

own life, the life of his mother, the life and love of Ophelia and the stability of the

kingdom. This is why I think that hamlet was really in sane because if he really loved

Ophelia and his mother he wouldn?t have went so far as to see them die as a result of his

actions, or the way he approached to handle things, like killing Claudius. Hamlet would

have had everything done and over with without giving up chances when he had

opportunities. ?Now might I do it pat, now a? is a-praying; And now I?ll do it, and so he

goes to heaven,? (III, iii73-74)


Shakespear, William. Hamlet. Don Mills

HBJ, 1987
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