Sanity: Boundaries of the Mind The mind is a beautiful thing. The boundaries that someone can extend their rationality is different in each and every person. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the balance of sanity and madness is tested. Hamlet’s way of thinking is changed, but in a way that his personality is only a front. By looking at the different events that Hamlet overcame, we can observe the passion for acting that many readers do not come across; knowing the importance of acting is imperative when questioning Hamlet’s sanity, since he is only acting insane, and is rational and in control of himself throughout the play.
Hamlet uses his craziness as a tool, changing insanity into the form of being witty, with clever word choice and actions. Furthermore, Hamlet only acts insane towards his enemies or their allies. One example, Hamlet attacks Ophelia, who is with Claudius, with words: "are you honest" (III.i.104), "are you fair" (III.i.106). Hamlet "speaks daggers" (III.ii.387) to Gertrude, because she is the only thing that sep... ... middle of paper ... ... things he has earned from the deed, “My crown, mine own ambition and my queen” (III.iii. ) Hamlet then justifies not killing Claudius for he doesn’t want to kill him after repenting for he would go to heaven.
One of the primary inquiries that arises from Shakespeare’s famous work,Hamlet, is whether the protagonist is truly insane or whether he is just pretending to be so. Unlike some of Shakespeare’s other work such as Macbeth where the “discerning eye” can determine whether the character is actually insane or not and where the madness was born, Shakespeare leaves Hamlet’s madness up to interpretation. In the play, Hamlet’s madness can be viewed as rational or viewed as completely crazy. Hamlet’s madness is shown through his rash decisions, mood swings, and his “nutty as a fruitcake” speeches. The method behind his madness can be reasoned through the fact that in his madness he is protected by the king, he makes fools of king and everyone around him, and he gets plenty of time to plot his revenge against Claudius for the murder of his father.
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, we, as readers, increasingly question the sanity of the protagonist, Hamlet, as the play continues. His seemingly psychotic banter with the other characters of the play begins to convince us that Hamlet is, indeed, insane. Hamlet, however, states, “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (1.5.171). He specifically tells Horatio and Marcellus that he will be acting mad, as a front. Hamlet has an exceptional grasp on mental philosophy and the uses and effects of logic, more so than the other characters of the play.
Although William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play itself, there is much acting that occurs inside of the story. Both Hamlet and King Claudius pretend to be what they are not. Hamlet feigns madness and King Claudius acts as though he were innocent of his brother, King Hamlet’s, murder. These characters act in order to manipulate others into furthering their own desires. The difference between these two characters, however, is that Hamlet is somewhat mad, even though he does act mad for most of the play.
And yet the riddle lay above the ken...and called for prophets skill...but then I came...and slew her." These features of Oedipus' personality lead him inevitably to assume that he, the great Oedipus, liberator of his people, could not possibly be the murderer that they seek. Hence, it is Oedipus' inflated ego that causes his fate to be so severe and his downfall so great at the end of the play. Furthermore, despite Teiresias' words early in the play, Oedipus refuses to believe the truth that he is responsible for Laios' death. His arrogance leads him to unknowingly curse himself, thus making his fate worse:
It seems that because of the lack courtesy on Claudius’ behalf, Hamlet is empowered to act. Hamlet’s indecision to act on avenging himself with King Claudius seems to be delayed and influenced by a cornucopia of factors that Shakespeare expresses throughout the text. During the play, Hamlet seems to be one of the most rational thinkers in the text. The ill marriage to Hamlet’s mother Gertrude gives Hamlet more reason to disagree and act out against Claudius and his government. It was Hamlet’s “Mouse trap” that provides the standard as being one of his most aggressive acts through the text.
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.
Hamlet and the Devil Hamlet, for reasons of trepidation chooses not to kill Claudius, his nemesis, in the altar room. This fatal procrastination results in the unnecessary deaths of Laertes, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Hamlet himself. This casts a most inauspicious light upon Hamlet, but only if the original premise is true. The obverse side of the argument is that Hamlet, because he desires all those who are in league with Claudius to suffer the same ignominious fate that his father suffers. Thus he delays his revenge in order to intensify the misery of the other characters.
At first glance, I did start believing that Hamlet wasn’t pretending due to his irrational actions, but after taking a closer look and analyzing the play, I realized that Hamlet does indeed prove that he is just putting on an act of insanity as a way of being able to plan out his revenge against Claudius to the full extent. This is shown through Hamlet’s conscious awareness of his surroundings, thoughts, actions, and