Hamlet Was Not Mad

Hamlet Was Not Mad

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To Be Sane or Not to Be in Hamlet   


‘ “To be or not to be” -- “that is the...” soliloquy. “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to...” agree, the question that no one knows. To think, to know, to know perchance to understand, the truth behind it all... ’ Was it, or was it not true that Hamlet was faking his insanity, really suffering, or perhaps even both. First, this is what insanity is; insanity is acting peculiar, but not knowing that they are. Also, it is going through a lot of stresses at the same time causing you to not think straight. Hamlet was not completely suffering from insanity. It wouldn’t make sense.

First of all, I’m not saying that Hamlet was faking the whole thing. I mean obviously, having your father die is bad enough, but to have your mother within a month, marry your uncle. What’s more is to see the ghost of your dead father! Obviously, that will make you a little crazy, but not to the extent that everyone thought Hamlet was experiencing.

If it weren’t for Hamlet’s insanity, the King (Claudius), would have obviously known that something was up with his nephew, and surely have him killed. If Hamlet didn’t act so he made his uncle believe that he was insane, then the King would have seen it in Hamlet’s eyes that he knew the truth. Think about it... in today's society, if someone thinks you’re crazy, you can say anything and get away with it. For example, someone can notion the slightest bit of sexual harassment, and get in a lot of trouble. Whereas someone who seems obviously insane, can say a hundred things that suggest sexual harassment and get away with it. Look at all the trials today! Murderers are constantly pleading in court to experiencing temporary insanity, and getting away with it! If you are believed to be insane, you can get away with anything. That is what was on Hamlet’s mind. It was truly an ingenious plan.

“...[I am only] mad north-by-northwest.” Anyone that would hear that, what instantly say, he’s a nut. However, there is logic to this quote. North being straight ahead, or up, meaning normal. Saying that it is “north-by-northwest,” means that he is only insane slightly off to the side. Hamlet seemed to be somewhere along the line of southwest, meaning really crazy, (south being the opposite direction of north, hence the opposite direction of normal).

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Hamlet Was Not Mad Essay

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Since he states this, he can’t be truly insane. Also the way that he went from character to character exploiting his insanity, being very careful going to this person first, and acting this way with this, all to make everyone think he was insane, including the most important character, Claudius. Once Claudius though he was insane, he was safe, and then he could carry out the rest of his plan. With the soliloquy, “To be...” Hamlet knew that he was being heard by the King, henceforth going on with his insane act. A great example is following his “To be...” speech, when he was talking to Ophelia. He knew that the King was listening to him. That was his chance to try to show the King that he was insane. The way he acted around him, the madness of it all. How he kept insisting, “...get thee to a nunnery...” That’s a mad thing to say to the woman you love. Among those reasons, of only acting insane around certain people, leads to another example. His private conversations with his true friend, Horatio. There was no sign of any insanity with the way he was talking to him, because Horatio new everything, and did nothing. Actually, I’m now going to contradict myself about Hamlet becoming at all crazy from seeing the ghost. See, if Hamlet saw the ghost, and went insane from that, don’t you think that Horatio, and the guards would have gone insane from seeing him as well? I really doubt that Hamlet would become crazy out of seeing something that 3 other people did. If you argue that Ophelia went insane after seeing her dead father, and she was to see out of many, Ophelia was a woman, and it was her father whom had died. In those days, (only according to Shakespeare, and not being sexist), women were extremely emotional, and something as tragic as this would make any woman insane.

In conclusion, Hamlet really could not have been insane the whole time, otherwise, nothing would have fit the perfect way that it did. Also, if he truly was insane, he would not have actually accomplished all the things that he’d managed to do. It was a very ingenious plan that Hamlet had created, and it almost worked...if everyone didn’t perish at the end. Hamlet was truly not insane.
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