Hamlet Intelligent , Not Insane

1368 words - 5 pages

Throughout the Shakespearian play, Hamlet, the main character is given the overwhelming responsibility of avenging his father’s "foul and most unnatural murder" (I.iv.36). Such a burden can slowly drive a man off the deep end psychologically. Because of this, Hamlet’s disposition is extremely inconsistent and erratic throughout the play. At times he shows signs of uncontrollable insanity. Whenever he interacts with the characters he is wild, crazy, and plays a fool. At other times, he exemplifies intelligence and method in his madness. In instances when he is alone or with Horatio, he is civilized and sane. Hamlet goes through different stages of insanity throughout the story, but his neurotic and skeptical personality amplifies his persona of seeming insane to the other characters. Hamlet comes up with the idea to fake madness in the beginning of the play in order to confuse his enemies. However, for Hamlet to fulfill his duty of getting revenge, he must be totally sane. Hamlet’s intellectual brilliance make it seem too impossible for him to actually be mad, for to be insane means that one is irrational and without any sense. When one is irrational, one is not governed by or according to reason. So, Hamlet is only acting mad in order to plan his revenge on Claudius.
In order for Hamlet to carry out his goal of revenge, he had to be totally sane. In Act I, he is warned by the ghost not to go mad and not to harm his mother. If Hamlet were truly mad, he would have done many unorthodox acts, which would only wreck his plan of getting revenge. There can be no such thing as restrained insanity. Hamlet’s sanity is displayed when he does not harm his mother. Gertrude has hurt Hamlet. She betrayed his father by having an affair with Claudius and eventually marrying him. Since Hamlet does not kill her, it shows he is in full control of his mental state and that he is not controlled by his feelings like most mad people.
Another reason why Hamlet is not mad is in the way he escaped his awaited execution in England. Hamlet knew that he was to be sent to England to be killed on the orders of Claudius. But once he saw a chance of escape on the pirate ship, he took this opportunity to board the ship, which made him escape death, thus prolonging his life a little longer. If Hamlet were actually mad, it would be doubtful that he would know of Claudius’ plans, and he most likely would have been executed. By not becoming insane, Hamlet’s intellectual sharpness was able to prevent him from making regretful mistake and also saving his life.
Hamlet is far too on top of things to be mad. Hamlet’s intellectual brilliance is first brought out in Act I, scene V when he plans on acting mad to confuse his enemies. Hamlet is also quick to figure out who his enemies and who are his real friends. “I know the good King and Queen have sent for you” (I.iv.37). Hamlet instantly knows that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not paying a social visit to Hamlet,...

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