Throughout the play, the characters in Hamlet are constantly facing themes of tragedy, betrayal, and most importantly, madness. The main character Hamlet is the poster child for all of these themes, especially madness. After his father is brutally murdered and a ghost comes to say that it was indeed Hamlet’s uncle who did the crime, Hamlet is full of both melancholy and angst. Many people debate over Hamlet was actually mad or if his strange behavior was just an act the whole time. Who decides what is mad and what is not? Better yet, what makes a person mad?? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines madness as “a state of severe mental illness; behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous”. Hamlet does a great job at fitting the given definition all throughout the play.
From the beginning, Hamlet has no problem with expressing his feelings over the murder of his father. Once the ghost of his father appears, Hamlet is furious and automatically begins to make plans to avenge his father’s death.“Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,/ How strange or odd soe 'er I bear myself/ (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/ To put an antic disposition on), (1.5. 170-73). In these lines of the play, Hamlet is talking to his two friends Marcellus and Horatio about his future behavior. He is making sure they never speak of his future actions no matter how crazy he gets as he tries to get revenge. In my opinion, this supports the fact that Hamlet is indeed mad because he is predicting his future sanity and behavior and decides to warn his friends because he knows that he is mad and they need a warning.
Along with planning revenge on Claudius, Hamlet also starts to question everything and everyone aroun...
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... and simply cannot think straight. If Hamlet was really serious about avenging his father’s death, the play would not have went on as long as it did. He grew crazier each and every day and his imagination and over thinking made him put off and doubt himself every chance he had to kill Claudius, like the time he was praying. His inability to act was only an effect of his mad mind not being able to put anything together. His actions became not only heedless but unjustifiable. Hamlet was not able to avenge his father’s death until the very end after Laertes confessed everything Hamlet needed to know before finally stabbing Claudius and getting his revenge. Although Hamlet and many other characters died, Hamlet was able to achieve what he wanted from the very beginning. If he had not been mad, this quest could have been much easier for Hamlet and the people of Denmark.
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