Manic Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Manic Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Length: 1061 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓

Manic Hamlet


            Manic: affected by violent madness . When one is affected by mania it becomes the dictator of his or her actions .  This holds true in William Shakespeare's Hamlet . In the play, Hamlet is depressed to the point of mania. His entire existence is engulfed in his melancholia.  Hamlet's words, thoughts, interactions and most tangibly his actions make his heavy-heartedness an undeniable reality. The degree of Hamlet 's depression is set by his ennui and his melancholy itself is revealed through his tenacity. Throughout the play Hamlet's actions are plagued by his overbearing depression. This depression in combination with Hamlet's mania is what makes his a bipolar disorder sufferer.

            Psychologically, mania is described as a mood disorder characterized by euphoric states ,extreme physical activity ,excessive talkativeness, distractedness, and sometimes grandiosity. During manic periods a person becomes "high" extremely active , excessively talkative, and easily distracted. During these periods the affected person's self esteem is also often greatly inflated. These people often become aggressive and hostile to others as their self confidence becomes more and more inflated and exaggerated.  In extreme cases (like Hamlet's) the manic person may become consistently wild or violent until he or she reaches the point of exhaustion. Manic depressives often function on little or no sleep during their episodes.

    At the opening of the play Hamlet is portrayed as a stable individual . He expresses disappointment in his mother for her seeming disregard for his father's death. His feelings are justified and his actions are rational at this point, he describes himself as being genuine. As this scene progresses it is revealed that Hamlet views himself as being weak: "My father's brother, but no more like my father/ than I to Hercules" (1.2.153) The doubts that Hamlet has concerning his heroism become particularly evident in his actions as the story progresses. These doubts are a major hindrance to his thoughts of revenge.

            Hamlet wishes to avenge the murder of his father and rectify this great injustice. The conflict between his desire to seek revenge and his own thoughts of incompetence is the cause of his initial unrest. "Haste me to know't , that I , with wings as swift / As meditation or thoughts of love , / may sweep to my revenge (1.5.29-31).  Here Hamlet pleads to the Ghost of King Hamlet to reveal the name of his murderer.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Manic Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet." 24 Jun 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet ' Essays

- Despite Hamlet being a tragic play, Shakespeare incorporates numerous extensions of Hamlet’s character throughout it, including the element of sarcasm. His sarcasm is most often sparked by his contempt of either a certain subject or person, and is usually spoken in such a way that his remarks seem innocent. Hamlet’s sarcasm is first seen during his interaction with Horatio when the topic of the Queen’s remarriage following so closely behind King Hamlet’s funeral is brought up. He makes the statement, “The funeral baked meats, did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (Act 1, Scene 2, lines 180-181)....   [tags: Hamlet, Tragic hero, Tragedy, Characters in Hamlet]

Research Papers
1817 words (5.2 pages)

Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Love is one of the most powerful themes in Hamlet, but a superior force - REVENGE, drives Hamlet's love. Revenge of his father's murder. Hamlet is confused and melancholic over the fact that his mother married his own uncle and so quickly after his father's death. Even though he does not immediately suspect foul play in his father's untimely death, he is in a state of shock. As Kenneth Muir states, "He (Hamlet) is profoundly shocked by Gertrude's marriage to his uncle in less than two months after her first husband's death, although he has no conscious suspicion that his father has been murdered or that his mother had committed adultery."...   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Research Papers
1141 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on The Tragedy of Lady Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- The Tragedy of Lady Ophelia of Hamlet Melancholy, grief, and madness pervade Shakespeare's great tragedy, Hamlet.  The emotional maladies presented within Hamlet, not only allow the audience to sympathize with prince Hamlet, but also with the tragic lady Ophelia as well.  It is Ophelia who suffers at her lover's discretion because of decisions she was obligated to make on behalf of her weak societal position.  Hamlet provides his own self-torture and does fall victim to melancholia and grief - his madness is feigned.  They each share a common connection: the loss of a parental figure.  Hamlet loses his father as a result of a horrible murder, as does Ophelia.  Her situation is more seve...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

Shakespeare's Hamlet: Hamlet is Perfectly Sane Essay

- Hamlet is Perfectly Sane        "I will be brief.  Your noble son is mad," states Polonius (II, ii, 91) .  Ophelia exclaims, "O what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!" (III, i, 153).  "Alas, he's mad," concludes Gertrude (III, iv, 106). Claudius even instructs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to escort Hamlet to England because "it [is not] safe with us/To let his madness range" (III, iii, 1-2).  Essentially, each supporting character questions Hamlet's sanity, and most conclude he is indeed mad. General consensus can justify almost all actions in most societies....   [tags: Madness Insanity Shakespeare Hamlet]

Research Papers
1945 words (5.6 pages)

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet - The Sanity of Ophelia Essay

- The Impact of Madness on Ophelia of Hamlet      Without question, the role of madness in Hamlet is as vital to the plot and the play's success as Hamlet himself; neither the character nor the play would be able to function without the driving (although somewhat sluggish) force that madness represents. The connection of one to the other, of character to condition, is so intertwined and entangled that Hamlet has come to symbolize the particular form of madness (i.e. melancholy brought about by a humoral imbalance) with which he is afflicted....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Research Papers
1369 words (3.9 pages)

Hamlet 's Lack Of Self Control Essay

- Today, many people feel that Shakespeare’s plays are outdated and that despite being so forward for their times, they have lost their place in the modern world. Shakespeare’s plays though, touch on timeless themes such as love, friendship, and vengeance such as seen in Shakespeare’s Hamlet as Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras, all fight to achieve a common goal; the goal of avenging their father’s deaths. Hamlet is controlled by his inaction and manic nature, Laertes is consumed by his impulsiveness, and Fortinbras – unlike the others – exercises control in fighting to defend his honor....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Emotion, Gertrude]

Research Papers
1517 words (4.3 pages)

Essay on The Many Faces of Hamlet

- The Many Faces of Hamlet        Of all the characters in the play, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet is without a doubt the most complex. His emotions are never stable, his feelings are constantly changing, and his behavior is confusing and inconsistent. Hamlet is described as "a half a dozen characters rolled into one" (Shaw 344) and with as many adjectives in one sentence as "cruel, angry, tender, depressed, clownish, manic, and filled with loathing for women, humanity, life, and himself" (Epstein 329)....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Research Papers
1591 words (4.5 pages)

Free Hamlet Essays: Lonely Hamlet

- Lonely Hamlet Hamlet’s decision to keep the murder of his father a secret to himself, along with the betrayals of many of his close friends and family, leads to his eventual downfall. If someone was there for him, whether it was his mother Gertrude, his girlfriend Ophelia, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, maybe his timeless death could have been prevented. Instead, his mother sides with Claudius who wants to kill him, Ophelia won’t go behind her father, Polonius’, back to be with him and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go behind Hamlet’s back and spy on him for Claudius....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Free Essays
766 words (2.2 pages)

William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- Books upon books have been written about Shakespeare’s Hamlet. About an equal number of books, however, have been written about one character; Hamlet. A critic of Hamlet once said, “a man set out to read all the books about Hamlet would have time to read nothing else, not even Hamlet.” What is the great fascination with Hamlet and the characters contained within. The great intrigue comes from the ambiguity of the play and it’s characters. “Hamlet is the tragedy of reflection. The cause of the hero’s delay is irresolution; and the cause of this is excess of the reflexive and speculative habit of the mind.” (Halliday....   [tags: Excessive Thought in Hamlet]

Free Essays
2828 words (8.1 pages)

Hamlet - Noble Prince in a Corrupt World Essay

- Hamlet - Noble Prince in a Corrupt World      Ever since I was acquainted with tragic plays, I fell in love with the ideas, concepts, and even moral beliefs of these tragic style writers.  Having never truly understood or read any of William Shakespeare's work, it was hard to see where he was coming from.  After reading and analyzing Hamlet, my first instincts depicted Shakespeare as a dramatist who was bent on creating an overly tragic, unfathomable drama.  That is why this essay is based around defending the opinion that "Hamlet is a noble prince who suffers from a corrupt world that is not suitable to his sensitive moral nature."  By doing this, the original implications will...   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Research Papers
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Related Searches

This request is emotional and impulsive at this point.  Hamlet does not realize exactly what this revenge may entail. This revenge seems simple to Hamlet only because he doesn't know who the killer is yet, his connection to the killer will be a great convolution to the situation. Toward the end of act one King Hamlet's ghost tells Hamlet who his murderer is. This news is the catalyst that embarks Hamlet upon his depression." The time is out of joint: O cursed spite, / The ever I was born to set it right !"(1.5.188-189).  These two lines particularly solidify Hamlet's dilemma. Here he knows what the task is actually calling him to do - kill his uncle.

            The second act includes two soliloquies; it is in these that the depth of Hamlet's depression  is revealed .The soliloquy opens with a reference to disease and decay : "Oh that this sullied flesh would melt / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew," (1.2.129-130) Here Hamlet is speaking of his own flesh and makes his first reference to suicide. He expresses great dissatisfaction with  the state of the world. "How weary, stale,  flat and unprofitable / Seem to me all uses of the world !" (1.2.133-134). These feelings of uselessness and depression are greatly due to his disapproval of and disgust with his mother's recent action.                 

            Since Hamlet displays many manic depressive characteristics, the play seems to be made up of hills and valleys.  Oscar James Campbell describes Hamlet as a series of meditative pauses followed by bursts of action – this is consistent with manic depressive behavior.  Hamlet's depressed phase is marked by brooding inaction and his manic phase is characterized by abrupt lunges toward action. During the entire play, Hamlet is in a state of paralyzing perplexity; from scene to scene he contemplates deeply over which course of action he should adopt.

            Hamlet is overwhelmed, he makes this abundantly clear in act two:" O God , I could be bounded in a nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space if it were not that I have bad dreams." (2.ii.254-256) Here Hamlet expresses a desire to crawl away and hide - he wants to escape this chaos that has become his life.  When it seems that stress begins to overtake him, Hamlet begins to lash out at the other characters. Sometimes Hamlet throws his tantrums in the solitude of a room and at other times he lashes out at people directly. One instance of this is occurred when Hamlet is being spied on by Claudius and Polonius while speaking to his love, Ophelia. In his great unrest Hamlet mocks Ophelia's sexual discretions by exclaiming "Get thee to a nunnery!" (3.iii.121) In Elizabethan times a nunnery was a whorehouse. In this scene Hamlet treats Ophelia very aggressively here he slams her around.  Also during the same dialogue Hamlet expresses his lack of feeling for Ophelia.  Hamlet says that he does not now and never has loved Ophelia. This is a major component in refuting the argument that his instability is due to love sickness over Ophelia .In the later part of the play when Hamlet is not manic he expresses a mammoth deal of love for Ophelia . It is only during periods of serenity that Hamlet's true feelings are revealed. His manic episodes serve to balance out his usual inactivity and apathy.  Hamlet never seemed to express much feeling to Ophelia and when he finally did say something he insults her and showers her with the rage he feels toward the state of his world. The actions that Hamlet performs mirror the patterns of a manic depressive.         

            Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder in which both mania and depression are present. In bipolar disorder periods of mania and depression alternate (each lasting between a few days and a few months), sometimes with normal mood interventions. (Gershon, 1990) Hamlet expresses these characteristics exactly . From day to day Hamlet goes from seemingly rational or "normal" to irrational, tenacious and impulsive. His patterns of action clearly prove that he is a bipolar disease sufferer.
Return to