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...

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