Hamlet's Insanity; Real Or Feigned Essay

2029 words - 8 pages

Hamlet returns to Denmark because of his father’s death. When returning he soon finds out his mother remarried to his uncle Claudius, who takes the throne and becomes king. Hamlet not fully recuperated from his father’s death finds it even more troubling to understand his mother’s remarriage. After seeing his father’s ghost, Hamlet plans to put on an anti-disposition. Although at first Hamlet acts crazy, he later becomes mentally unstable and wants to commit suicide. Ophelia too was insane, but she kept it to herself while Hamlet contemplated suicide. Both characters were insane even though Ophelia committed suicide and Hamlet thought about suicide. Hamlet first created an antic-disposition; but family, grief, and psyche caused his antic to become reality.
Hamlet had many reasons to put on an antic-disposition, first and foremost was to seek revenge for the death of his father. The next reason was so that he could plan revenge so that he wouldn’t hurt his mother, who he at one point was in love with. Hamlet carefully planned to revenge his father, in doing so he made sure he would not hurt his mother. Although Polonius, father of Ophelia, was not directly related to Hamlet and Gertrude it was much easier for Hamlet to exert all his emotions and anger on Polonius. “It is much easier for Hamlet to behave aggressively toward this man than toward his mother or uncle, especially when his behavior must be excused as madness” (Paris 45). One of Hamlet’s reasons to “harm” Polonius is because he has hurt Hamlet by not allowing Ophelia to be happy with him. Another reason is because there was no other way for Hamlet to let out his anger towards his mother’s remarriage. Paris also mentions that “Hamlet’s hostility is that Polonius serves as a surrogate onto whom he can displace his feelings toward Gertrude and Claudius” (45). Although it’s not difficult to agree with Paris, it can also be thought that Polonius wanted to displace his hostility on Polonius because of his feelings towards Ophelia and because Polonius would control the way Ophelia would act with Hamlet. The ghost of late King Hamlet appeared to Hamlet and requested him to avenge his death. “It is only after having seen the Ghost that Hamlet announces for the first time his intention of playing at madness” (Rudnytsky & Spitz 167). Hamlet decided to plan his antic-disposition after his father’s apparition, but Hamlet was not acting mad. His grief and anger could have easily caused an outburst.
Hamlet thought of his plan to revenge his father, but in order to do so he acted insane. Harrison mentions “a perfect revenge required, therefore, great artistry” (90), Hamlet had to make himself insane in order to convince others he was grieving and was suffering, and this too would help him get closer to Claudius so that he could avenge him for murdering the late King Hamlet. Hamlet’s plan was well thought out; beginning with his act to be insane and continuing with the play he created which showed...

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