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The Mystery Man Essay

2065 words - 9 pages

"To be, or not to be" (3.1.57) is usually all one thinks about when Hamlet is brought up, yet Shakespeare intended the play to be so much more than that. Hamlet is a play based on the royal family of Denmark. The protagonist, Hamlet, is the prince and son of King Hamlet. The play starts with the mysterious death of King Hamlet, and the swift wedding of the Queen to Prince Hamlet's uncle. Hamlet is sorely grieved with the death of his father. Shakespeare's playwriting abilities from the early 1600s have resonated until today for multiple reasons. Hamlet addresses social concepts from Shakespeare's day up until modern times. The ideas that he portrays in the characters in the play teach ...view middle of the document...

4.15-18). Here, Hamlet and Horatio wait for the ghost to appear. They hear the King's raucous partying going on, and Hamlet makes a bitter comment on the practice to Horatio. He says he should be part of it, but he completely disagrees with the whole idea of it because it gives a bad reputation to the country. Hamlet already thinks his uncle alone gives a bad reputation to the country, and the party only helps to strengthen it. Hamlet's use of humor and sarcasm shows his inner feelings towards his mother and uncle. This also proves that he is not insane as an insane person would not have the mind to make such comments.
Is he sane, or is he not? That may very well be the real question at hand, opposed to "To be, or not to be" (3.1.57). Hamlet certainly gives off an insane demeanor, but is it a show or the real deal? Based on a few quotes and some inferences, one can conclude that Hamlet is not insane, but instead, he is incredibly intelligent and calculating. The first clue in the play that shows Hamlet is, in fact, putting on a show, is far before his "madness" occurs. "But come, 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)" (1.5.171-173). Here he tells Horatio that he must pretend to be crazy, and Horatio must not question it. Hamlet already knows that if he is to get revenge, he will have to perform some unorthodox tasks and act in peculiar ways. Hamlet's witty and sarcastic comments give an understanding to the reader that he kept his word (to feign madness) to Horatio. He indeed did act insanely: "act" being the key word. His strange comments to everyone, bar Horatio, seem to fit the part of a psychotic person, when in fact they were carefully worded and thought out. Hamlet must be an excellent scholar with quick wit.
In Act 3, Scene 1, Hamlet seems especially crazy in the way he accosts Ophelia. To the others in the play, he comes off as a love-stricken bipolar man, but to the reader (with the addition insight received throughout the play), he displays the work of a genius. Claudius (who was standing watch from a hidden location) even acknowledges the underlying sanity. "Love? His affections do not that way tend. Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little, Was not like madness" (3.1.162-164). Claudius can tell that Hamlet hasn't truly lost it. He cannot tell for sure what has gotten into him, but he is catching on. If Hamlet really is pretending, what does that mean in regards to the overall play. For starters, it means that Hamlet must have much more left in store. With cunning and revenge on his side, what can stop him? It also shows that he is dedicated to his cause. He is not selfish because he still looks after Horatio and, after all, he is looking to avenge his father, but he has selfish qualities. He pushes most of the people close to him away, all in the name of revenge. He has a one-track mind. It is a brilliant...

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