Hamlet's Feign Insanity Essay

Hamlet's Feign Insanity Essay

Length: 1023 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, insanity is defined as an illness or disease that sends the mind into sheer madness. This “disease” deprives the mind of reason and awareness, creating a human being of complete disorder. “A common notion of insanity is that those laboring under it are very violent or very suicidal or talking nonsense” (Kellogg). Kellogg states the actions of those affected by insanity; he provides clear knowledge of behavior associated with an individual that has been introduced to madness.
Characters in Hamlet are intended to be affected by insanity, therefore throughout the play corrupted minds descent into madness bringing about tragic endings, sorrow-filled moments, and shameful events. Hamlet, a character from Shakespeare’s play, is portrayed as being affected by this illness. Critics state that Hamlet is truly insane. They demonstrate how Hamlet’s responses and behavior are linked to pure madness, but reasoning and constant planning are elements that Hamlet displays throughout the play. This is an indication that Hamlet is a man of awareness, so while his words and actions may indicate otherwise, Hamlet maintains both lucidity and sanity throughout the play. Hamlet’s apparent descent into madness was convincing, but his mind continued to have balance giving the impression that the “disease” of insanity was not there at all.
Hamlet’s insanity is introduced in Hamlet after King Hamlet’s ghost appears to speak the truth about his death. After this encounter Hamlet states his plan for feign insanity.
But come. Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd some’er I bear myself (As I perchance here after shall think meet to put an antic disposition on) That you, at such times seeing me, never sh...

... middle of paper ...

...let does maintain his lucidity through every tragic event that he faces. He is truly a man of awareness and he thinks with reason. Hamlet is the complete opposite of a man declared to be insane.

Works Cited

Boswell. “Is Hamlet’s Insanity Real or Feigned?” A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare:
Hamlet. Ed. Horace Howard Furness. New York: Dover, 1963. Print.
Eliot, T. S. "Hamlet and His Problems." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Mar. 2014 Kellogg, A.O. Commentary from "Insanity–Illustrated by Histories of Distinguished Men, and
by the Writings of Poets and Novelists." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 28 Mar. 2014 Kirsch, Arthur. “Hamlet’s Grief.” ELH. 48.1. (1981). 17-36.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat; et al. New York: Simon & Schuster;
1992. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

-        In Shakespeare's Hamlet, there are two characters that display qualities of insanity.  They are Hamlet and Ophelia.  Although they both appear to be mad at times, their downfall (or supposed downfall) is quite different.  Ophelia's crazed characteristics show up and intensify quite rapidly, until she is ultimately led to suicide.  Her madness seems definite, and it is never questioned.  The insanity or sanity of the main character is an arguable question.  The issue can be discussed both ways, with significant support to either theory....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1379 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Reality Of Hamlet 's Insanity

- ... He does this to expand his look of depression and separate himself from his family and friends so that they cannot find out his true secret. Horatio is one that hamlet opens up to usually more than others. He gives much evidence when in conversation with Horatio and deliberately tells him that he is faking madness, and when and where he has to act differently. “When completing with Horatio the arrangements of the play, and just before the entrance of the court, Hamlet says “I must be idle” (III, ii, 85)” (Crawford)....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Strong Essays
1260 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Hamlet Was Certainly Sane

-        In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, the character of Hamlet feigns insanity. For a person in his situation, having one's peers think of one as crazy can be quite beneficial. His father, the king, had just died, and he is visited by a ghost who appears to be his father's spirit. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother Claudius, who is now the current king and who recently married the former king's wife. Hamlet vows revenge and, as a tool to aid him in that plan, convinces people that he is crazy....   [tags: Madness and Insanity in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
2213 words (6.3 pages)

The Madness Of Hamlet By William Shakespeare Essay

- ... In this interaction, Hamlet uses his feigned madness to his advantage to insult Polonius. Hamlet’s wit clearly shows that he has not yet lost his reason and is not mad. In this act, Polonius begins to believe that Hamlet has indeed gone mad, and he believes that the reason for his madness is Ophelia. Polonius explains to Claudius how he had advised Ophelia to “lock herself from his resort, admit no messengers, receive no tokens…into the madness wherein now [Hamlet] raves” (2.2.149). Polonius fully believes that Hamlet’s dissatisfied love for Ophelia has caused his madness....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Ghost]

Strong Essays
1550 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Theme of Madness Conveyed in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the most evident and important themes is the theme of madness. The theme is apparent throughout the play, mainly through the actions and thoughts of Hamlet, Ophelia, and Laertes. Madness is defined as the quality or condition of mental illness or derangement (being insane). Madness is at the center of the conflicts and problems of the play and is conveyed through Shakespeare’s elaborate use of manipulation and parallels between Hamlet, Ophelia, and Laertes to contribute to Hamlet’s tragic character....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
1161 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare 's Hamlet - The Concept Of Deception And Illusion

- ... For instance, when speaking to Polonius in Act II, Hamlet first identifies him as a “fishmonger” and responds to Polonius with strange answers (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene 2). Polonius realizes there might be a method to his madness, but doesn’t know what Hamlet means to accomplish. The only people who believe Hamlet to be insane are Claudius and the people he manipulates (Crawford, “Hamlet’s Antic Disposition”). However, there are many instances that prove that Hamlet’s insanity is merely a deception....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Deception, Gertrude]

Strong Essays
1529 words (4.4 pages)

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet - The Pretended Madness of Hamlet

- The Pretended Madness of Hamlet Hamlet, knowing that he will get into difficulty, needs to feign madness for the purpose of carrying out his mission. He rehearses his pretended madnesss first with Ophelia, for even if he should fail there in his act of simulation, that failure will not cause him any real harm. The manifestations of insanity that Hamlet will show become predictable - a sure sign that it is a simulated and not a real insanity. When Hamlet is with a trustworthy friend, he is rational and symptom-free; as soon as those persons appear, however, whom he wants to convince that he is mad, he changes his behavior so as to implant different explanations in their minds for his notic...   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
431 words (1.2 pages)

Essay about Was Hamlet Faking His Insanity?

- In Hamlet, he seems to be mad, but there is a question that everyone asks when reading or watching this play “was it, or was it not true that Hamlet was faking his insanity, really suffering, or maybe even both.” First, this is what insanity is: insanity is acting crazy, but not knowing that they’re acting crazy. Also, it’s going through a lot of stress at the same time causing you to act stranger then a normal person. Hamlet was not totally insane. It doesn’t fit. I’m not saying that Hamlet was faking the whole thing....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature]

Strong Essays
576 words (1.6 pages)

Free Hamlet Essays: Teaching Deception and Selfishness in Hamlet

- Teaching Deception and Selfishness in Hamlet The Tragedy of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, illustrates the disintegration of not only a family but a society. In a play riddled with greed, manipulation and dishonesty, the end result is the demise of all the main characters. ?It is clear that the theme of vengeance is merely a vehicle used by Shakespeare in order to articulate...themes central to humanity: relationships between father and son, mother and son, and Hamlet and his friends...youth and age....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
1079 words (3.1 pages)

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Both a Sane and Insane Hamlet

- Sane or Insane Hamlet: Support for both Positions Shakespeare's tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are indications from Hamlet throughout the play of his mind's well being. Hamlet's antic disposition may have caused him in certain times that he is in a roleplay....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
924 words (2.6 pages)