Use Of Insanity And Madness In Hamlet

1160 words - 5 pages


It is or is it not true that Hamlet was faking his insanity? I’m not saying Hamlet was faking the whole thing. The meaning for insanity on Dictionary.com is “a permanent disorder of the mind.” I don't think Hamlet had a permanent disorder of the mind he knew what he was doing and even planned the majority of the events that happened. Most of the time anyway.
Having your father die is bad enough, but to have your mother marry your uncle, within a few weeks of your father’s death? Then to see the ghost of your dead father. That would drive anyone a little insane, but maybe not to the extent that everyone thought Hamlet was acting. Hamlet is torn between acting sane and letting everyone else see him as insane.
Hamlet is so grieved by his father's death that he begins to think of suicide. “O,tht this too too soid flesh would melt thaw and resolve itelf into a dew!” (Act 1, Scene 2, Lines 129-130). Hamlet's next thought to be mad when he begins to follow the ghost. Horatio attempts to tell Hamlet not to follow the ghost, Horatio questions him to about what might happen if the ghost “assume some other horrible form Which might deprive your sovereignth of reason. And draw you into madness”(Act 1, Scene 4, Lines 72-74)?
Throughout the play Hamlet seems to act insane then sane again. His comment to his friends best describes his madness when he says, “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from handsaw” (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 378-379). Hamlet is insane only when he thinks it is best for him to be insane. He uses his insanity as a way to vent his feelings toward others in the play.

Hamlet’s display of insanity allows him to prove that Claudius did in face murder his father. After seeing the ghost of his father, Hamlet vows to avenge his father’s death and decides to pretend to be insane; this will help him prove Claudius’ guilt. His plan to avenge his fathers death would have been successful if he had had the guts to kill Claudius when he had the chance. It dawns on Polonius that Hamlet is not as mad as he is pretending to be, “How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of ” (Act2, Scene2 , Lines 204-206). When Claudius murders the king it seems everyone goes a little insane, in which homicide and suicide runs rampat.
Following his first encounter with his father’s ghost Hamlet tells Marcellus and Horatio that they can’t tell anyone about the ghost and even if he should act strange. “How strange or odd soe'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 sall, With arms encumbered thrus, or this headshake,”(Act 1, Scene 5, lines 179-183).
Hamlet is somewhat discouraged at his mother for marrying so quick, and also for marrying his uncle. “The Ghost, in his nightgown, prompts Hamlet to help Gertrude's 'fighting soul'...

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