Fake and Real: The Difference In the Portrayal of Madness
A very controversial topic exists in regarding to Shakespeare's Hamlet. Many of those that read Hamlet argue that Prince Hamlet was mad, his actions guided by his ill feelings and weak emotions. Had William Shakespeare been around to answer the question "Was Hamlet mad," he would most likely answer that Hamlet, the product of his imagination and creativity, was portrayed in such light as to create this controversy on purpose. However, Hamlet is perfectly sane, guided indeed by his emotions and feelings, which are, in fact, very healthy. Hamlet was not crazy, and this can be shown by the real madness of the one that he loved, or, at least, seemed to--Ophelia, whose craziness, especially in her final hours is unmistakably obvious. The actual reason as to why the audience is easily convinced that Hamlet was sane while Ophelia was mad, is simple: it is the brilliantly skillful way that Shakespeare portrays them that makes it clear, though not obvious, as to who is really the insane one.
Hamlet, the young, strong, full of revenge prince is constantly talked about as insane. Most of the characters in the play Hamlet, except for Hamlet's good friend Horatio and a few others believe that Hamlet has "lost his marbles." Yet, there is no real evidence which convinces the audience of this--there's no facts, nothing other than the characters' opinion of him. Hamlet commits certain acts which seem irrational and unexplainable to the antagonists in the play, however, to the audience, all of these acts are perfectly explainable and rational. This is because the audience knows the situation that Hamlet is in, having had his father murdered and his mother marrying the...
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...ving an unmistakable impression that her sanity has followed her father into his grave.
Ophelia was a pawn, nothing more, which was used by those that supposedly loved her for their own purposes. She was used by her father to drive Hamlet to madness, as he thought. Hamlet used her to convince Polonius and others that he was mad. Ophelia eventually looses both of these men, which is what drives her to insanity, possibly because the two biggest "influences" of her life have disappeared.
This is how Shakespeare used madness to show the differences between Ophelia and Hamlet. He showed brilliantly and skillfully true insanity and faking. Hamlet had a very brilliant plot of avenging his father, which certainly worked, though, surely, Hamlet wasn't planning on so many deaths. The careful, skillful setup of the plot of this play truly expresses Shakespeare's genius!
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