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The Masks Of Hamlet Essay

1317 words - 6 pages

In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the author dives into a tragedy with several characters that go through drastic changes. This tragedy was written in early 1600s, about the early kingdom of Denmark. The focus of the play is that Prince Hamlet is seeking vengeance of his father who was killed by Hamlet’s Uncle, Claudius. With a mix of sudden death and family affairs, the young prince goes through a tremendous amount of change in a short period, which causes high levels of stress. The main character Prince Hamlet is a character that is stuck between the realms of sanity and insanity. This constant unbalance causes him to also have suicidal thoughts, along with procrastinating on important thing.
Hamlet’s insanity is an extremely odd and clever tool that the prince uses to confuse those around him, so he may complete his plan of killing King Claudius. When madness is reasonable for Hamlet's goals, he puts on an "antic disposition" (I.v.173). On the other hand, when sanity is needed, Hamlet returns to being logical. Hamlet explained that he is "mad north-north-west" (II.ii.376), meaning he is insane at times and quite normal at others. Therefore, Hamlet uses this strategy to complete his scheme, but ironically, slows down the process. To begin, Hamlet shifts into the realm of insanity to achieve his short-term goals. Hamlet uses his craziness as a tool, changing insanity into the form of being witty, with clever word choice and actions. Furthermore, Hamlet only acts insane towards his enemies or their allies. One example, Hamlet attacks Ophelia, who is with Claudius, with words: "are you honest" (III.i.104), "are you fair" (III.i.106). Hamlet "speaks daggers" (III.ii.387) to Gertrude, because she is the only thing that separates Hamlet and Claudius. Also, when Hamlet kills Polonius aggressively, Hamlet concludes that Polonius is "dead, for a ducat, dead" (III.iv.25). Hamlet than continues by hurting both Ophelia and Gertrude with psychological warfare. These three people, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Polonius, are Claudius' allies. Hamlet sees that by wounding Claudius' allies, Hamlet is indirectly harming Claudius. This appears to be Hamlet's short-term goal: to rid Claudius of allies. Continuing, Hamlet not only uses insanity to harm Claudius’ closest ones, the insanity of Hamlet also troubles Claudius. Hamlet seems to understand how his madness works. The madness blends reality and truth, thus, causing grave confusion. Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet and figure out what "unknown afflicts thus" (II.ii.17). He also has Polonius try to "find / where truth is hid" (II.ii.155-156). Gradually, Claudius begins to get frustrated with Hamlet and figures that "madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go" (III.i.90). Hamlet's insanity forces Claudius to put those closest to him in dangerous situations to uncover his insanity. Claudius being confused is another part of Hamlet’s short-term goal. In short, Hamlet's insanity...

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