Hamlet And Ophelia Comparison Essay

672 words - 3 pages

Hamlet and Ophelia are linked by many common characteristics, notthe least of which is their madness. While Hamlet's madness seems tobe feigned, Ophelia is truly crazy. The odd thing about theirpredicament is that they each drive each other more fully into thedepths of illness.One of Hamlet's most famous lines is when he tells the Queen: "Seems,madam? Nay, it is. I know not 'seems.'" Hamlet is saying that he doesnot know what it is to pretend, he only knows what it is to be. This is themain question surrounding Hamlet in the play, is he feigning hismadness, or is it real? After confronting the Ghost, Hamlet tells his friendsthat he is going to act mad in public, and that they should not worry forhe is not really crazy at all. There is a common belief in these days thatwhen someone tells a lie and firmly believes it they start to live that lie.Maybe this is true with Hamlet- he acts truly mad in public (even hismother believes it) that possibly he acts mad in private too.After Polonius tells Ophelia to repel Hamlet's letters, Hamlet entersOphelia's room and looks at her with such a piteous and saddenedface that even Ophelia begins to think there is something wrong withhim. Shortly after that Hamlet encounters Polonius in a corridor andharasses him and says crazy things. In an aside Polonius says, "Thoughthis be madness, yet there is method in't." In another famous line,Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ask Hamlet about his madness, and hereplies, "I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I knowa hawk from a handsaw."In the beginning Hamlet says he does not know how to pretend, so onecould argue that either he was lying and is a very good play-actor withhis madness; or he really does not know how to act and is truly mad.Hamlet does go about talking overmuch about writing and acting, andeven goes so far as to put a little vignette in the play of Hecuba, andtells the actors how to do their job. Is Hamlet an actor telling otheractors how to...

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