Hamlet's Feign Insanity Essay

Hamlet's Feign Insanity Essay

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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...


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...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.


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