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Hamlet's Feign Insanity Essay

1289 words - 5 pages

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, insanity is defined as an illness or disease that sends the mind into sheer madness. This “disease” deprives the mind of reason and awareness, creating a human being of complete disorder. “A common notion of insanity is that those laboring under it are very violent or very suicidal or talking nonsense” (Kellogg). Kellogg states the actions of those affected by insanity; he provides clear knowledge of behavior associated with an individual that has been introduced to madness.
Characters in Hamlet are intended to be affected by insanity, therefore throughout the play corrupted minds descent into madness bringing about tragic endings, sorrow-filled moments, and shameful events. Hamlet, a character from Shakespeare’s play, is portrayed as being affected by this illness. Critics state that Hamlet is truly insane. They demonstrate how Hamlet’s responses and behavior are linked to pure madness, but reasoning and constant planning are elements that Hamlet displays throughout the play. This is an indication that Hamlet is a man of awareness, so while his words and actions may indicate otherwise, Hamlet maintains both lucidity and sanity throughout the play. Hamlet’s apparent descent into madness was convincing, but his mind continued to have balance giving the impression that the “disease” of insanity was not there at all.
Hamlet’s insanity is introduced in Hamlet after King Hamlet’s ghost appears to speak the truth about his death. After this encounter Hamlet states his plan for feign insanity.
But come. Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd some’er I bear myself (As I perchance here after shall think meet to put an antic disposition on) That you, at such times seeing me, never shall, with arms encumbered thus, or this headshake, or by pronouncing of some doubtful phase. (Shakespeare 1.5.188-195)
Prince Hamlet has clear intensions of pretending to be a victim of insanity. His reasons for his feign madness is simply to arouse suspicion from King Claudius. Eliot is the author of the article Hamlet and His Problems. He comments on Hamlets reasoning and thoughts writing:
In the final play of Shakespeare, on the other hand, there is a motive which is more important than that of revenge, and which explicitly “blunts” the latter; the delay in revenge is unexplained on grounds of necessity or expediency; and the effect of the “madness” is not to lull but to arouse the king’s suspicion. (Eliot).
Eliot’s intention for his writing is to give the idea of that Hamlet indeed wants the suspicion of King Claudius. Eliot also wants readers to be aware of Hamlet’s revenge against the king and Hamlet’s intentions for the king.
He assumes madness for a special purpose, and says so when he speaks of his antic disposition; nothing can be plainer that that purpose throughout the entire play. He took a mask to conceal his own designs, to discover the secrets of the king and to deceive the court, and particularly...

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