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...

Find Another Essay On How Shakespeare Portrays Madness in Hamlet

A Method to Madness - Hamlet - by William Shakespeare

731 words - 3 pages Ankita Mitra 8A #12Mrs CastagnaMarch 20, 2014A Method to MadnessPolonius's words, "Th8ough this be madness, yet there is method in't." (1) clearly show the reader that Hamlet simply feigned his insanity. William Shakespeare's parents gave birth to him in Stratford-upon-Avon in the sixteenth century. His son, Hamnet, died at the tender age of eleven years. This influenced the writing of Hamlet - one of the greatest revenge tragedies in literature....

The insanity of Hamlet can be portrayed as an act of will to revenge his father's death. William Shakespeare captures this through Madness vs. Melancholia

1067 words - 4 pages Sane, or Insane? That is the QuestionMadness vs. MelancholiaOne of the most controversial questions surrounding William Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, is whether or not the character was in fact haunted by madness or just acting it. His continuous use of melancholia leaves us as the audience, to ponder upon the true madness of Hamlet."Hamlet" is a story about fratricide, madness, melancholia and a constant change of attitudes and emotions.His...

How Shakespeare Portrays the Relationship between Richard and Buckingham in Richard the Third by William Shakespeare

2316 words - 9 pages How Shakespeare Portrays the Relationship between Richard and Buckingham in Richard the Third by William Shakespeare Shakespeare develops and changes the relationship between Richard and Buckingham throughout the play. We see that Richard and Buckingham are total opposites when they first meet, but it all starts to change when Buckingham meets Richard and he starts to change. Shakespeare opens the play with Richards’s...

How Shakespeare Portrays the Character of the King in William Shakespeare's Henry V

2220 words - 9 pages How Shakespeare Portrays the Character of the King in William Shakespeare's Henry V By writing this play, Shakespeare was hoping to inspire the people of England because at that time there was a possible threat of war from Spain or Ireland. He was trying to create the feeling of patriotism so writing about Henry was a good idea because he was the epitome of a brave, courageous king. He was able to inspire his men to...

Madness and Sanity in Hamlet

892 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights of all time. His writing is famous still today. One of his greatest works is a very controversal, yet intelectually-stimulating play entitled Hamlet. This play is about a prince (Hamlet) whose father, who was king, was killed by his uncle, Claudius, who then took the throne. To complicate the situation further, his mother, Gertrude, married Claudius shortly after the death of his father. His...

Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Madness in Hamlet

801 words - 3 pages Madness in Hamlet        Hamlet's choice to put on an "antic disposition" leads to his downfall; it is a tragic error in judgement (hamartia) which destroys his relationship with Ophelia and Gertrude. It is Hamlet's hubris. Another result from Hamlet's peculiar actions, is that in his own mind he begins to believe that he is mad.  It is unfortunate that Hamlet's plan did not succeed; not only did it lead to his own downfall but he had to...

How does Shakespeare Explore Elizabethan Ideas of Kingship in 'Hamlet?

2096 words - 8 pages In what ways does Shakespeare explore Elizabethan ideas of Kingship in 'Hamlet'?Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' is described by many as the most famous play in the English language and praised as his greatest tragedy. 'Hamlet' is different to other tragedies, because of its Christian, rather than pagan imagery as with other tragic works.In Hamlet, Shakespeare addresses many issues, but one of the most prominent being that of power and the role of a King....

Madness of Multiple Characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet

960 words - 4 pages In the play Hamlet, the author, Shakespeare portrays madness or insanity through most of its characters. What is madness, it is a state of mind in which doesn’t let ones ideas flow normally or think with a clear mind. In this case it is evident that there is something wrong with almost all the main characters. All the characters in the play in some form or fashion display madness either through thoughts, actions or words. Due to Hamlets...

Theme of Madness Conveyed in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1217 words - 5 pages In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the most evident and important themes is the theme of madness. The theme is apparent throughout the play, mainly through the actions and thoughts of Hamlet, Ophelia, and Laertes. Madness is defined as the quality or condition of mental illness or derangement (being insane). Madness is at the center of the conflicts and problems of the play and is conveyed through Shakespeare’s elaborate use of manipulation...

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1395 words - 6 pages        In Shakespeare's Hamlet, there are two characters that display qualities of insanity.  They are Hamlet and Ophelia.  Although they both appear to be mad at times, their downfall (or supposed downfall) is quite different.  Ophelia's crazed characteristics show up and intensify quite rapidly, until she is ultimately led to suicide.  Her madness seems definite, and it is never questioned.  The insanity or sanity of the main character is an...

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet

3220 words - 13 pages Hamlet and Insanity       William Shakespeare’s creation of the character of Hamlet within the tragedy of that name left open the question of whether the madness of the protagonist is entirely feigned or not. This essay will treat this aspect of the drama.   George Lyman Kittredge in the Introduction to The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, explains the lack of success with Hamlet’s pretended insanity, and in so doing he implies...

Similar Essays

Madness In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1779 words - 7 pages Madness in Hamlet by William Shakespeare At first glance, William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet appears to be an obvious story of a man who goes mad over the murder of his father, the king. Madness is a common theme throughout Hamlet, but often times Hamlet himself is the only character seen as mad. An explanation for this is that a first time reader does not carry the perception that any other characters are mad, simply Hamlet. When in...

Ophelia's Madness In Shakespeare´S Hamlet Essay

780 words - 3 pages Although Ophelia’s madness may not be as “method”-ical as Hamlet’s, Ophelia’s sayings, songs and riddle like remarks confirm Laertes suspicion, “This nothing’s more than matter.” (4.4.183) While Laertes remarks suggest that Ophelia’s words might be significant, it is actually Laertes words which hold the “key” to Ophelia (1.3.90). For this “nothing” or “no-thing” is bawdy wordplay which refers to Ophelia’s vagina and the “matter” is Ophelia’s...

An Exploration Of The Way Shakespeare Presents Madness In Hamlet

3145 words - 13 pages An Exploration of the Way Shakespeare Presents Madness in Hamlet Does Shakespeare intend to present Hamlet and Ophelia as insane? This is a question which has baffled English literary critics for more than 400 years. There is still no definite answer, and throughout the play there are numerous points where you stop and wonder whether Hamlet and Ophelia are sane or not. They both change dramatically from one scene to...

Motif Of Madness In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

1116 words - 4 pages Motif of Madness in Hamlet by William Shakespeare It is the driving force of mankind that has delivered man from the age of stone to that of industry. This force is also the essential ingredient that produces the inescapable prison of the mind, a frightful disease that may be viewed as the greatest irony of life. Pain is a dreadful disease in which every individual has felt the everlasting effects. The grief of pain can become a crashing...