An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in Hamlet

3145 words - 13 pages ✓ Expert Reviewed
VIEW DOCUMENT
Preview

An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in Hamlet

Does Shakespeare intend to present Hamlet and Ophelia as insane? This
is a question which has baffled English literary critics for more than
400 years. There is still no definite answer, and throughout the play
there are numerous points where you stop and wonder whether Hamlet and
Ophelia are sane or not. They both change dramatically from one scene
to another, often drastically.
Although in my opinion, Hamlet is not crazy at all, he is merely
forced to act insane to avenge his fathers’ death. Hamlet is in fact
so good at acting insane that many people question whether or not he
is actually insane. Although many believe he is just exceptionally
depressed as a result of his father's death. Gertrude rushed into
marriage only two months after her husband’s death and this can
certainly be seen as a key reason for Hamlet’s profound depression. It
was a very little space of time between his father’s death and his
mother’s re-marriage, this time to Claudius who was next in line to be
King anyway – and now became so. This was another factor which upset
Hamlet, as he would have potentially became king eventually whereas
now this may not be the case.

Personally, I believe that Hamlet set out to act insane – but, as a
result of constant recurring betrayal – actually did turn genuinely
insane. Throughout the play, with the exception of one character,
there is not one soul who sticks with him; they all betray him in one
way or another, with the exception of Horatio.

At the beginning of the play, Hamlet first expresses his grief for his
father’s death when his mother and Claudius, the new King, enter the
room and confront him regarding it, he replies to her:

“Seems, madam! Nay it is; I know not 'seems.'
Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother”

This is the point in the play Shakespeare first presents Hamlet’s
allegedly unbalanced mind. His mother suggested that he was merely
pretending to mourn his father’s death, and in the above quotation he
is basically replying with anger, as it is extremely evident he does
not appreciate his mother making such accusations. Gertrude, his
mother, used the word ‘seems’ when she initially said to him:

“Why seems it so particular with thee”

This is what sparked such a reply from Hamlet, as he said “Seems,
madam! Nay it is; I know not 'seems.”, as also quoted above.

It is essentially quite ironic that Gertrude said this to him, as he
is in fact contemplating suicide! He says in his soliloquy that
follows:

"O, that this too too solid flesh would melt Thaw and resolve
itself into a dew!”

Hamlet is very unhappy that his mother is not mourning his father and
cannot understand. So he says to her:

"frailty, thy name is woman”

Shakespeare uses this as an obvious way...

Find Another Essay On An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in Hamlet

The Insanity Of Hamlet Can Be Portrayed As An Act Of Will To Revenge His Father's Death. William Shakespeare Captures This Through Madness Vs. Melancholia.

1067 words - 4 pages meaning then the other.The two interpretations from Olivier and Zeffirelli's Hamlet are completely different in contrast to the emotions, and the way they have portrayed the character. The madness and melancholia of both films have been used effectively, but are incomparable to one another. Zeffirelli has shown a more evidential use of madness throughout his production. He has managed to portray a realistic conflicted struggle within Hamlet...

A Method To Madness - Hamlet - By William Shakespeare

731 words - 3 pages . Hamlet. II. ii. 195(6) Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. II. i. 2something deep whenever he behaves in a 'mad' way. He uses this 'insanity' to his advantage.However, there are several instances which clearly indicate that Hamlet suffered from symptoms of insanity like melancholy and depression. The first sign of his depression is evident in all of his soliloquys, for example, "O that this too…all...

In Hamlet By Shakespeare, The Implications Of Double Definitions And Deceptions Are Conglomerated In Such A Way That A Literary Cycle Is Circumvented.

723 words - 3 pages In Hamlet by Shakespeare, the implications of double meanings and deceptions are conglomerated in such a way that a literary cycle is circumvented. The literary cycle by definition is the conveyance of a theme through consistent usage of literary devices through out a literary work. By doing so, Shakespeare produces an atmosphere of contentment...

Using Act 1 Scene 5 As A Kick Off Point, Show How Shakespeare Presents Ideas About Romeo And Juliet's Love In A Dramatically Effective Way.

1626 words - 7 pages Romeo and Juliet's youth produces a problem for Shakespeare: he must convince the audience of the sincerity and genuineness of their love for each other. He accomplishes this in a variety of ways. He presents courtly love and romantic love to highlight the authenticity of the romantic love and uses different techniques in his writing to strengthen this...

An Essay Which Analyses The Means Shakespeare Presents The Growth Of Othello's Character.

2748 words - 11 pages Using Act 3.3 as a starting point analyse the ways in which Shakespeare presents the development of Othello's characterAct 3.3 is referred to as the famous 'corruption' scene of the play. This name describes manner in which Othello metamorphoses from a calm, considerate loving husband to being completely driven by an emotion Shakespeare describes...

Two Types Of Madness In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1873 words - 7 pages       In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the principal character, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, uses a charade of madness in order to further his plot of revenge. However, his mind is not able to justify murder for any reason; therefore, he truly goes insane before he is able to fulfill his scheme. In contrast, Ophelia is openly mad and is used by Shakespeare to show the various forms of insanity. According to Carney Landis and James D. Page...

Theme Of Madness Conveyed In Shakespeare's Hamlet

1217 words - 5 pages madness is also an excuse for them to speak their minds and the truth without being questioned. Hamlet pretends to be mad so that he can keep his plans confidential to make people think that because he was mad he wouldn’t be capable of doing the things he was planning on doing. Hamlet could control his madness, Ophelia and Laertes could not. Ophelia was lost in her madness and Laertes' madness was controlled by Claudius. The madness we see in...

The Numerous Identities Of Hamlet In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

829 words - 3 pages The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the protagonist, Price Hamlet, uses several ways to defend himself against his oedipal desires, his animosity towards his uncle, as well as his own inner conflict . Hamlet's hatred towards Claudius stems from two crimes committed; Claudius' murder of his brother and his incest with Hamlet's mother. Because of the seriousness of both...

Madness Of Multiple Characters In Shakespeare's Hamlet

960 words - 4 pages In the play Hamlet, the author, Shakespeare portrays madness or insanity through most of its characters. What is madness, it is a state of mind in which doesn’t let ones ideas flow normally or think with a clear mind. In this case it is evident that there is something wrong with almost all the main characters. All the characters in the play in some form or fashion display madness either through thoughts, actions or words. Due to Hamlets...

Use Of Insanity And Madness In Hamlet

1160 words - 5 pages describes his madness when he says, “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from handsaw” (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 378-379). Hamlet is insane only when he thinks it is best for him to be insane. He uses his insanity as a way to vent his feelings toward others in the play. Hamlet’s display of insanity allows him to prove that Claudius did in face murder his father. After seeing the ghost of his father, Hamlet vows...

An Analysis of Mortality in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

2547 words - 10 pages in understanding death. Shakespeare shows the ideology of death internalizing within Hamlet first with Hamlet’s emotions following the death of Old Hamlet. In the scene in which Hamlet is introduced, Hamlet is portrayed as an embodiment of death, dressed in “suits of a solemn black”(1.2.81) and has “dejected havior of the visage”(1.2.84). Hamlet’s physical representation as death signifies his lack of desire to continue living himself, being...

Other An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in Hamlet Essays

An Exploration Of The Methods In Which Shakespeare Presents The Developing Relationship Between Beatrice And Benedick.

2234 words - 9 pages , which is proved when Claudio and Hero produce sonnets that the couple wrote for each other, confirming their feelings, "hands against [their] hearts".The relationship between them that Shakespeare presents is overall very interesting. They start off as a couple involved in a "merry war", who annoy and aggravate each other. Then their views of each other are changed completely half way though the play, causing confessions of love although...

Motif Of Madness In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1116 words - 4 pages Tragedy of Hamlet, the playwright utilizes the motif of madness to help depict that appearances are deceptive. Hamlet, the young prince of Denmark loses his father at an early age. Ever since this tragic event occurred, Hamlet was perceived as a troubled individual in a state of madness, a type of madness that develops into insanity. Hamlet presents many clues that in fact he appears to be insane. William Shakespeare does an outstanding...

Madness In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1779 words - 7 pages Madness in Hamlet by William Shakespeare At first glance, William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet appears to be an obvious story of a man who goes mad over the murder of his father, the king. Madness is a common theme throughout Hamlet, but often times Hamlet himself is the only character seen as mad. An explanation for this is that a first time reader does not carry the perception that any other characters are mad, simply Hamlet. When in...

How Shakespeare Portrays Madness In Hamlet

3072 words - 12 pages How Shakespeare Portrays Madness in Hamlet Many questions have been raised about Hamlets madness. Whether it was an act, or that his father’s death and his ghost genuinely drove him to the brink of madness. Along side with Hamlet, further on in the play Polonius’s death brought Ophelia and the audiences to question her own sanity as well. Although Hamlets madness and Ophelia’s are caused by the same thing, the death of...