Essay about Sanity, Insanity, Madness? - William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Sane

Essay about Sanity, Insanity, Madness? - William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Sane

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Sanity, Insanity, Madness? - William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Sane


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...


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...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.


Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Norton Critical Ed. New York: Norton. 1992.

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