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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 their father, they both have
very different consequences to their new found personality change.
Hamlets madness itself was represented as an act, from an audience’s
point of view we know his anti disposition is an act, but this piece
of dramatic irony brings a lot of despair for the rest of the

I’m going explore how Shakespeare portrays madness in the play ,
looking in depth to causes, consequences, actions, language,
similarities, and differences or Ophelia’s and hamlets madness.

The death of King Hamlet left a lot of considerable damage on Hamlet.
In act one scene two as the King and Queen celebrate their wedding,
and Hamlet is still mourning his father’s death. “How is it that the
clouds still hang on you?”

“Not so my lord, I am too much in the sun” It’s his own strong belief
that the Queen did not mourn enough for her husband, and her ‘oh hasty
marriage’ was brought on too quick. This conjures negative emotions in
Hamlet, for which uses to build a barrier between them. The distant
relationship that Hamlet seems to have with the King and Queen makes
it easier for them to pin point his madness on what they think the
roots are.

Hamlets madness is without a doubt not genuine in the beginning of the
play, his plan was to put on an antic disposition and seek revenge of
his father’s death. Although Gertrude dies in front of Hamlet with him
knowing it was going to happen it takes him seconds to revenge her
death, as it has been 5 scenes where Hamlet plots to seek revenge for
his father. There are many signs that lead reader to suspect that he
carries guilt of his mothers ‘incestuous marriage’ and also that his
angst and depression could possibly lead him to questionable insanity.
In Hamlets first soliloquy he reveals how he cannot commit suicide
because of ‘canon’. The Churches divine law against self slaughter.
Although he accepts this rule his curiosity for death remains in
conscience mind. “Could I drink hot blood” even though Hamlet does not
mean to drink blood itself his intention is grotesque and contemplates

In Act one scene five: After the first encounter with King Hamlet’s
ghost, Young Hamlets speech significantly changes. “Hillo, ho, ho,
boy! Come bird, come.” The burden of what he has been told by his
father is overwhelming; he cannot stand the idea of his beloved father
being murdered by his own blood. Hamlet makes...

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