What Is Mental Illness In Hamlet

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Depression in Hamlet
In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, various mental illnesses are displayed. The mental illnesses are frequently discussed by various critics. Some believe Hamlet is simply love sick, while others argue he has no disease at all. Poet and Shakespeare contemporary, Ben Jonson says, “If you be sick, your own thoughts make you sick.” Ben connects mind with body to imply that a person’s mental state can relate directly to their physical state. This quote relates directly with Hamlet’s mentality. Hamlet has driven himself to madness and, in his own mind, has made himself sick. Hamlet shows clear signs of clinical depression, and because no one is there to help and support him it only gets worse. A person with depression needs
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He cannot decide on anything in his life and this a result of his inability to know himself. Being inconclusive about a matter is an internal battle that can only be solved by the victim. It is a sickness that is inside a person and continues to affect them. Depressed people tend to be indecisive to avoid the burden of their decision. They know that once they make a choice, they will be committed to their decision. In addition to feeling burden, depressed people don’t want to feel regret. The University of Pennsylvania Press elaborates on this thought by saying, “Depressed patients anticipate making the wrong decision: whenever they consider one of the various possibilities they tend to regard it as wrong and they will regret making that choice” (29). Hamlet struggles to make a choice on whether or not to commit suicide, on when to get revenge, or when to take action. He cannot make these decisions because he is afraid of the results. As The University of Pennsylvania Press states, he does not want to make the wrong conclusion and regret it. As Hamlet stands looking at Claudius he decides to get revenge and says, “Now might I do it pat, now he is praying” but then changes his mind and states, “And so he goes to heaven / And so am I revenged.—That would be scanned” (Shakespeare III.iii.74-76). Hamlet first thinks he should kill Claudius, but quickly changes his mind, which shows his extreme indecisiveness. He…show more content…
He no longer has joy and happiness. Hamlet has reached anhedonia, or the inability to enjoy life. People who experience depression, have a change in character. They become someone they weren’t before they were infected by the mental illness. When observing patients with depression the University of Pennsylvania Press determined that, “They are not amused, do not feel like laughing, and do not get any feeling of satisfaction from jesting remark, joke, or cartoon” (22). Hamlet shows no joy throughout the play, which depicts his anhedonia. Hamlet admits himself that he has lost his job by saying, “I have of late- but wherefore I know not-lost all my mirth, forgone all customs and exercises” (Shakespeare II.ii.303). Hamlet can see himself changing but does not understand why. He knows he is no longer joyful and has stopped exercising. Hamlet notices his own depression, which indicates just how obvious it is. He has messed with his mind so much, but can still see he is no longer the person he used to be. Between all the symptoms, Hamlet has become a different person and there is no one to help him overcome this change. He is stuck on his own, propelling himself into deeper
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