In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the lead character, Prince Hamlet of Denmark, has been interpreted in numerous ways. Throughout the play Hamlet takes on different personas, making it hard define him as only one character type. Often when critics analyze the character of Hamlet, they question his sanity because of his ambiguity soon after he sees his father's ghost. What does it mean to be insane? The definition of the word "insane" says that the person must "exhibit serious and debilitating mental disorders." does Hamlet truly go insane, is his father's ghost just a figment of his tormented imagination, or is Hamlet a smart actor who meticulously planned to avenge his father's death? Hamlet had to be sane because he definitely does not exhibit serious and debilitating mental disorders. Though it seems Hamlet is insane, there is evidence showing he could not have fit the definition of an insane man. Hamlet can be proven sane with the evidence that three other men witnessed the ghost of Hamlet's father; he states a list of rules on how to be a good thespian; and he follows them while carrying out his plan to avenge his father's death. Finally, he makes witty and factual comments throughout the play that show his sanity and ability to read into the actions of other characters.
Can we say that Hamlet's encounter with his father's ghost is a sign of insanity? No, we cannot. Hamlet is informed of the ghost's existence by three other men who see it first. Kingdom guards, Mercellius and Bernardo sighted the ghost first. When they see it they tell Horatio, Hamlet's friend, who comes out to see for himself. When Horatio sees the ghost the three men went to see Hamle...
... middle of paper ...
...ow the other characters off, play them, confuse them so that he can use their stupidity against them and successfully incriminate Claudius and Gertrude so that his father can be saved from a hellish limbo. Hamlet's actions are clever and smart. He has an extraordinary ability to organize and plot. He is admirable. He keeps the actions of his performance within the walls of the castle and shows no signs of insanity when he is away from the people he does not trust. Everything he does is intricate and done with feeling and expression. Hamlet is grieving, but not to the point of insanity. He is grieving in the sense that he needs closure to the tragic events that torment his heart, and he uses the trait of insanity to try and gain this closure with an extravagant performance.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Norton Critical Ed. New York: Norton. 1992.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Hamlet is Not Insane What occurs in another person's mind is almost impossible to know and comprehend. We use our own understanding of the world that surrounds us to find answers concerning the minds of people around us. As I read Hamlet by William Shakespeare, I was forced to use my understanding to determine whether or not Prince Hamlet was drowning in the sea of madness or just waddling in the pool of acting. To answer my own question I needed to determine what I believe to be the definition of insanity.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1381 words (3.9 pages)
- True insanity cannot be controlled but feigned insanity is easily controlled in order to manipulate other people. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Hamlet pretends that he is insane to trick King Claudius and his company while in fact, he is not at all mad. Hamlet admits his trick that he trying to pull as well as both Polonius and Claudius, whom he is trying to deceive, admit that at some points, it seems as though Hamlet is simply pretending to be mad. While Hamlet tricks many people, it is often evident that he is clearly not mad but instead completely of sane mind that he is using to trick the king and his company.... [tags: deceived, skeptical, madness]
537 words (1.5 pages)
- Hamlet is Truly Sane In William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, we meet an interesting character named Hamlet. His father is killed and he finds out it was his uncle who murdered him. This, among other events, is believed to drive Hamlet insane. But he is not insane, he merely puts on an act because he craves attention, and is really quite sane. There are little incidents that tell the truth of his state of mind. He plans ahead, before doing something important. He acts in a calm and rational manner (most of the time) when planning, and when carrying out this plan, acts irrational.... [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet Essays]
553 words (1.6 pages)
- Insanity within Hamlet Let us explore in this essay the real or feigned madness of the hero in William Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet. Critical opinion is divided on this question. A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy staunchly adheres to the belief that Hamlet would cease to be a tragic character if he were really mad at any time in the play (30). On the other hand, W. Thomas MacCary in Hamlet: A Guide to the Play maintains that the prince not only feigns insanity but also shows signs of true insanity: Hamlet feigns madness but also shows signs of true madness) after his father’s death and his mother’s overhasty remarriage; Ophelia actually does go mad after he... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
1894 words (5.4 pages)
- Madness and Hamlet Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare's most honored works and is a piece of literature, which has been studied in depth by many a scholar. The storyline of Hamlet follows a vein of madness that begins with Claudius' murdering King Hamlet and ending with the tragic killing of almost every main character. Many reasons have been proposed for the ultimate tragedy, which occurs at the conclusion of the play. It will be argued in this essay that madness is the cause of the eventual tragedy in Shakespeare's Hamlet.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
915 words (2.6 pages)
- Hamlet Essay “I plead guilty by reason of insanity,” is Hamlet’s plea if he was sitting in a modern courtroom. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, it is evident that Hamlet himself is indeed out of his mind. The reader understands the reason for his anger and frustration, but how he “fixes” the situation is beyond a sane mind. To be fair, his madness deals more with emotional instability referred to as melancholy or madness than a person who is incoherent. Hamlet’s madness becomes clear in his actions and thoughts, in his erratic relationship with Ophelia, and in the murder of Polonius.... [tags: melancholy, depression, mood]
564 words (1.6 pages)
- Throughout William Shakespeare’s famous novel, Hamlet, many questions have gone unanswered. One of the most controversial questions deals with the main character of the novel- Hamlet. Is Hamlet really insane or is he just putting on an act of insanity. William Shakespeare does a good job of making Hamlet seem insane throughout different scenes of the novel. Throughout the book, Hamlet dealt with many tragedies that lead to his emotional strain such as his own father’s murder, his mother’s suspicious marriage to his uncle, and witnessing his father’s ghost, seeking revenge.... [tags: Shakespearean Literature]
702 words (2 pages)
- The story Hamlet was composed by the playwright William Shakespeare, and is regarded as a timeless piece in both literature and theatre. Now, over four hundred years after Hamlet was written, society still continues to analyze its complex characterization (Reiss 769). In a Psychiatric Times article, twentieth century physician Alan Stone says, “Even today in our era of cultural diversity, Shakespeare remains the greatest figure of world literature, performed on every continent, surviving translation” (Allan 20).... [tags: Hamlet Essays]
1706 words (4.9 pages)
- The Sanity of Hamlet One of the most controversial questions surrounding William Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, is whether or not the title character was insane or merely acting. By examining Hamlet and his actions throughout the play against the characteristics of sanity, such as the ability to reason and knowledge of the difference between right and wrong, it will be shown that Hamlet was in fact sane. Many have tried to determine sanity by proving him insane. However, this is difficult because Hamlet states he will act insane to exact revenge upon Claudius (1.5.180-181).... [tags: Madness and Insanity]
1143 words (3.3 pages)
- Hamlet's Madness Is Hamlet Mad. Not Likely. Madness is a condition of the mind which eliminates all rational thought leaving an individual with no proper conception of what is happening around him/her. Madness typically occurs in the minds of individuals that have experienced an event or series of events that their mind simply cannot cope with and, thus, to avoid their harsh reality, they fall into a state of madness. In William Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet, there is much debate around the protagonist, Hamlet, and whether or not his madness in the play was real or feigned.... [tags: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet]
1654 words (4.7 pages)