Madness And Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet Is Sane

1393 words - 6 pages

Hamlet is Not Insane    

    What occurs in another person's mind is almost impossible to know and comprehend. We use our own understanding of the world that surrounds us to find answers concerning the minds of people around us. As I read Hamlet by William Shakespeare, I was forced to use my understanding to determine whether or not Prince Hamlet was drowning in the sea of madness or just waddling in the pool of acting. To answer my own question I needed to determine what I believe to be the definition of insanity. The Merriam Webster Dictionary: 50th Edition defines insanity as "exhibiting serious and debilitating mental disorder." I would define insanity as having no limits to your statements and actions. As well as displaying random acts of what others would call silliness and foolishness. An important part of this definition which is not mentioned in the dictionary and I find important is that the doer must not be aware of what they are doing. Using my own definition of insanity I believe that Hamlet makes himself appear to be mad, but in his own mind he is aware of the effect they would have and is relying on them as part of his plan. Therefore he is not insane for those who are, such as Ophelia are not aware of their actions or the consequences.

                 Hamlet is not even partially insane, for I don't believe that there is anytime in which Hamlet is not aware of what he is doing and the consequences it would bring. It is true that he, himself states "I am but mad north-north-west." (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 401) Here he implies that he is mad only part of the time and that at others he is sane. After reading the play one can see that the wind is "north-north-west" whenever someone of importance to Hamlet's plans are around such as Polonius or Claudius. An example of this can be when Polonius tries to talk to Hamlet and asks him if he's aware who he is and Hamlet answers "Excellent well. You are a fishmonger." (Act 2, Scene 2 Line 190) At times of solitude he is sane. He is able to release the feelings that he can't show in front of others because if he does then his plans would be destroyed. Such as when he says "Now I am alone." (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 576) It give off the air as though it is said in between a sigh, as if to say finally the curtains are down. Now is "When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 401-402) He can reason and plan freely. This shows that Hamlet himself controls the wind and therefore he controls his sanity, and if one can control their sanity and insanity then they are not mad. There is even a place where Hamlet admits to Horatio and Marcellus the he would act crazy and not to hint to anybody not even to each other that they know what is going on. Hamlet says "How strange or odd some'er I bear myself (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on) That you at such times seeing me, never shall, with arms encumbered thus, or this...

Find Another Essay On Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Hamlet is Sane

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1537 words - 6 pages A popular topic of discussion for Shakespearian critics is whether or not Hamlet is sane at various points in the play. Usually, this digresses into a question of at what point Hamlet crosses the fine line which marks the bounds of sanity into the realm of insanity. This is a confusing matter to sort out, due to the fact that it is hard to tell when the prince is acting, and when he is really and truly out of his mind. The matter of

Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2051 words - 8 pages revenge!”   In the meantime, Ophelia loses her sanity because of the rejection by Hamlet and the death of her father. Hamlet is kidnapped by pirates from his ship en route to England. Laertes returns from France; he and Claudius “concoct their dastardly plans for the certain death of Hamlet” (Burton) in retaliation for Polonius’ death and Ophelia’s madness. Hamlet’s demise appears imminent as the court at Elsinore await his return

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

Use of Insanity and Madness in Hamlet

1160 words - 5 pages the murder, Hamlet continues to behave in a strange way. When he mistakenly murders Polonius he does not react as a sane person would. This act enrages Laertes, who then wants to avenge his father’s death. Driven to madness by the murder of his father, Laertes, with the help of Claudius conspires to kill Hamlet. His insane actions upset other characters and set the up for other mad actions. Ophelia’s madness is caused by the actions of

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

Hamlet's Madness in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

1373 words - 5 pages Hamlet's Madness in William Shakespeare's Hamlet At any given moment during the play, the most accurate assessment of Hamlet's state of mind probably lies somewhere between sanity and insanity. Hamlet certainly displays a high degree of mania and instability throughout much of the play, but his "madness" is perhaps too purposeful and pointed for us to conclude that he actually loses his mind. His language is erratic and

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

Two Types of Madness in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1873 words - 7 pages       In Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the principal character, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, uses a charade of madness in order to further his plot of revenge. However, his mind is not able to justify murder for any reason; therefore, he truly goes insane before he is able to fulfill his scheme. In contrast, Ophelia is openly mad and is used by Shakespeare to show the various forms of insanity. According to Carney Landis and James D. Page

Madness and Sanity in Hamlet

892 words - 4 pages Guildenstern to spy on him. Hamlet is too clever for this trap however. This is an indication that Hamlet is truly sane and knows what he is doing. He has carefully devised his plan and is cautious in his actions. He trusts very few with his secrets.Gertrude first denies Hamlet's madness. She then, like Polonius, feels that Hamlet's madness is caused by his love for Ophelia because they cannot be together. To find out if this is true, Polonius

Shakespeare's Hamlet, indeed a very sane man

888 words - 4 pages they/might,'/Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note/That you know of me-this do swear,/(I,v,190-201).Hamlet states that from this point forward I may act weird but to ignore my acts of madness for they are just that, acts, and are in no way a sign of true madness. Only a sane and rational person could devise such a plan as to act insane to convince others that he is insane when he actually has complete control over his psyche.Hamlet only acts mad

Shakespeare's Hamlet - Observations of Madness

2916 words - 12 pages thoughts of Guildenstern and Rosencrantz present the reader with one possible factor for the cause of Hamlets supposed madness. The two men believe that the cause for Hamlets madness is his lack of “advancement” or thwarted ambition. In a conversation with Hamlet in Act II scene II, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz come upon this idea: Hamlet: Denmark's a prison. Rosencrantz: Then is the world one. Hamlet: A goodly one; in

Similar Essays

Madness And Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet And Insanity

1967 words - 8 pages Hamlet and Insanity          William Shakespeare’s supreme tragic drama Hamlet does not answer fully for many in the audience the pivotal question concerning the sanity of Hamlet – whether it is totally feigned or not. Let us treat this topic in detail, along with critical comment.   George Lyman Kittredge in the Introduction to The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, explains the prince’s rationale behind the entirely pretended

Madness And Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet Insanity Within Hamlet

1956 words - 8 pages Insanity within Hamlet         Let us explore in this essay the real or feigned madness of the hero in William Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet.   Critical opinion is divided on this question. A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy staunchly adheres to the belief that Hamlet would cease to be a tragic character if he were really mad at any time in the play (30). On the other hand, W. Thomas MacCary in Hamlet: A Guide to the

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