Insane Or Not Insane Essay

949 words - 4 pages

Insane or Not Insane? Hamlet is a tragedy; which is a narrative epic tale that ends in death and irony, written by author/poet William Shakespeare. In the tragedy, Hamlet performed in ways that were concluded to be actions of insanity. In observing the actions of Hamlet, the question, "Is he insane or is he not insane," has been inquired.In the tragedy Hamlet, Prince Hamlet has been approached with many things that have caused him to be confused about the way things were being handled. In one incident, the spirit of Hamlet's dead father visits him. The spirit instructs Hamlet to do certain things to avenge its homicidal death. When Hamlet came in contact with the ghost, the spirit said to him: I am thy father's spirit; Doomed for a certain time to walk the night, And for the day confined to fast fires, till the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away. (Shakespeare, 1.5.9-13) After hearing these words out of the being's mouth, Hamlet begins to question whether or not the spirit is really his father's or if the being is a trick of the devil. While trying to decide whether the ghost was help or a hindrance, Hamlet observed that the person who is now King of Denmark, his uncle-father, was watching him. Still unsure of the ghost's intentions, yet well aware of the watchful eyes that try to watch his every move, Hamlet puts on a show of insanity so that he would be able to set aside time to put things in the proper perspective.After receiving instruction from the spirit, Hamlet begins to act as if he were insane. The key word in this scenario is "act." Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself, As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on, "¦ (Shakespeare, 1.5.167-170) Making this statement implies that Hamlet is indeed not insane only pretending to be. Hamlet pretends to be out of it because he realizes that if Claudius feels in any way threatened by him he will kill him just as has killed his father. The insanity bit is only an illusion to insure that Claudius is not alarmed by any of Hamlet's actions.By definition, insanity is such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or as removes one from criminal or civil responsibility. By this definition, Hamlet was insane only part of the time. An example of this was the incident involving Polonius, the king's right hand man, who attempted to converse with Hamlet about his daughter Ophelia. While Polonius is trying to talk to Hamlet, Hamlet pretends not to recognize him. Hamlet acted as if he were unaware of his whereabouts, and...

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