Hamlet: Mad or Faking it? Essay

Hamlet: Mad or Faking it? Essay

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Hamlet, a well-known play written by Shakespeare is a story where a good amount of ink has been spilled. Hamlet outwardly acts mad to disguise a violent plan to avenge his murdered father. However, many wonder if Hamlet’s madness was real. Based off The article Hamlet’s Grief by Arthur Kirsh, I believe that Hamlet truly did only fake madness; any further instability in came from mourning and not a true mental illness.
This Article discusses more than just Hamlet’s story and character but it does tell the reader about Hamlet’s madness. It tells them that Hamlet’s emotional characteristics make him do what he does which is becoming mad or pretending to be mad. It talks about how his ideas are affected by the inner conscience and its neuroscience. Basically this article tries to prove that nothing can be done without emotions and his madness is caused by his emotions. In this source, the author goes about showing how mad hamlet was by picking at his strategy of trying to expose Claudius of murdering his father through the “Mouse Trap” play. This source argues that Hamlet’s grief can be blamed on many occurrences that happened within the play, the biggest influence being the death of his father. Other influences that this source states are the fact that his newly widowed mother marries his uncle only a month or so after his father’s death and the fact that Ophelia let her brother and father influence her love for hamlet Another interesting theory was that nobody gave hamlet any sympathy in his time of grief when he really needed it resulting to his madness.
As Arthur KirschWrites , “If vengeance composes the plot of the revenge play, grief composes its essential content, its substance”(17). As Kirsch notes, right from his first appe...


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...e driven solely by passion and a drive for revenge, while Hamlet is only looking for a “friendly fencing match”. In the end Hamlet only makes the final blow towards his uncle after his treachery is broadcast, when there is no longer any shred of doubt to question Hamlet’s morality.
Hamlet’s judgment was clearly clouded, but not from psychosis. As a reaction to
emotional trauma: a plea for revenge from his father’s ghost, and immoral behavior from those around him, Hamlet acted on an impassioned sense of morality- his conscience was still there, just temporarily silenced. Any rash action Hamlet may have took was caused by external factors, instead of a madness of his own... and were perhaps even justified!



Works Cited

Kirsch, Arthur. "Hamlet's Grief." The Johns Hopkins University
Press 48.1 (1981): 17-36. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Web. 23 Mar. 2011.

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