Amrit Maraj May 27, 2011
A major debate concerning one of Shakespeare’s most famous works, “Hamlet the Prince of Denmark” is whether or not its main character Hamlet is doing as he says which is “putting on an act of madness” or has all the madness surrounding actually driven him insane. As seen throughout the play, Hamlet experiences what some may identify as mood swings, going rapidly at times from one emotion to another. Mood swings like those are shown in various dialogs and soliloquys across this play. I believe that after learning the truth about his father’s death, King Hamlet, the young prince used this idea of acting insane to learn who he can really trust and believe. However, after a series of unfortunate events along with the overwhelming pressure to avenge the murder of his father, the young princes act became his reality.
Towards certain people he acts certain ways. Hamlet appears to act mad when he hears of his father’s murder. No one knows if his madness is a show like he says or real like it seems. It seems as if there are two Hamlets in the play. One that is sensitive and an ideal prince and the insane uncivilized Hamlet, who from an outburst of passion and rage slays Polonius with no feeling of remorse and then talks about lugging his guts into another room. This is why I say Hamlets madness is less than madness and more than pretend. Hamlet says he is just acting mad when he states, “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (II,ii,380-381).
... of Hamlets madness: Polonius believes that it is for unrequited love, whereas Claudius, thinks it due to ambition. Through the play, Hamlet seems ... seen continuously through the play, for example, in act two, scene two, after acting for Polonius, Hamlet immediately jokes with the ... into act three, scene two. Here, Hamlet calls Polonius, so capital a calf, and fools him into believing he is mad with ...
Admitting so easily that he is only pretending to be mad, this would suggest that he is comfortable with his madness. Hamlet also seems to be generally comfortable with acting crazy in this case. It is puzzling that at this point Hamlet is comfortable with acting, but not with the role that he said he would play earlier of killing Claudius. This brought on his madness in the first place. Hamlet’s behavior throughout the play especially towards Ophelia is unsuitable. She describes Hamlet’s extremely strange behavior when he came into her room wearing sordid pants, unbuckled around his ankles. His face, pale as death, knees shaking with the fear of hell, the actions of an insane person not those of a sane person pretending to be insane just so they can take revenge on their father’s killer. Hamlet also does something we wouldn’t expect. He jumps into the grave of Ophelia’s and fights with Laertes about who loved her more. He professes “I lov’d Ophelia: forty thousand brothers Could not, with all their quantity of love, Make up my sum.” ( V, i, 270-272], during the fight with Laertes in Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet tells her that he never loved her when she returns his letters and gifts, while she was still alive. Hamlet subtly hints his awareness of his dissolving sanity as he tells Laertes that he killed Polonius in a fit of madness. Hamlet has violent outbursts towards his mother. His outburst seems to be out of jealousy. Jealousy towards his mother for remarrying claudius so soon after his father, Hamlet SR’s death. Hamlet tells his mother “That I essentially am not in maddness, But mad in craft:” ( III, IV, 187-188).
He alone also sees his father’s ghost in his mother’s chambers. Every time the ghost appeared someone else has also experienced his presence. During the scene when Hamlet’s talking to his mother he finally shows his madness. Hamlet’s mother does not see the ghost which makes it look like he’s seeing things or making it up. “On him, on him. Look you how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoin’d, preaching to stones, Would make them capable.” (III, IV, 125-127]. Throughout the play, there are also supporting factors to argue Hamlet’s sanity. As these details compromise his madness to balance out his mental state. Hamlet tells Horatio that he is going to act mad and if Horatio notices any strange behavior from Hamlet it is because he is putting on an act. Hamlet’s madness is only apparent when he is in the presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves unreasonably. When Hamlet in the presence of Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players, and Gravediggers, his actions are sensible but not normal. So when it comes down to the point of madness Hamlet may have been pretending at the beginning and thinks he still is pretending but really he is mad and can’t stop himself. By Hamlet pretending to be insane, his insane actions cost him his own life, the life of his mother, the life and love of Ophelia and the stability of the kingdom. This is why I think that hamlet was really in sane because if he really loved Ophelia and his mother he wouldn’t have went so far as to see them die as a result of his actions, or the way he approached to handle things, like killing Claudius. Hamlet would have had everything done and over with without giving up chances when he had opportunities.
... are aware of this love and ... talk to Hamlet. In this Scene true madness comes into play. Once Ophelia meets Hamlet and speaks with him Hamlet realizes that his mother and stepfather ...