Hamlet's Feigning Madness In Hamlet, By William Shakespeare

1164 Words 5 Pages
Madness is an act many individuals put to express their chaotic mind, but some, portray madness to conceal actual thoughts and feelings, and in some cases, plans. In existence, not everything is what it may seem to be; people may behave differently, and hide reality with a disguise. Throughout the play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Hamlet is only feigning madness, as Hamlet portrays insanity through his thoughts, actions, and interactions with others.
Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark and the son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude, thoughts reveal evidence that proves he is feigning madness. The Ghost tells Hamlet what may be the truth of King Hamlet’s death; therefore, Hamlet makes a scheme to appear mad. Hamlet’s friend and the watchmen,
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Hamlet tells Horatio and Barnardo that he will be acting mad, so they should not hint at it or tell anyone that they know what is happening. Hamlet says, “how strange or odd so’er I bear myself / (As I perchance hereafter shall think meet / To put an anti disposition on), / That you, at such times seeing me, never shall / With arms encumber’d thus, or this head-shake, Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase” (1.1.187-192). Hamlet asks Horatio and Barnardo to keep Hamlet’s plan to themselves; Hamlet’s scheme of acting mad is so that he can figure out the real cause of King Hamlet’s death. Also, Hamlet comes up with a plan to see how his uncle, now the King of Denmark, Claudius reacts to a murder that was identical to the way Claudius killed King Hamlet. When Hamlet is talking to Horatio and says, “one scene of it comes near the circumstance / which I have told thee, of my father’s death. / I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot, / Even with the very comment of thy soul / Observe my uncle” (3.2.73-77). Hamlet plans to put a play on for Claudius, which is similar to how Claudius murdered King Hamlet. By doing so, Hamlet will see Claudius’s guilt and will know that Claudius was the one …show more content…
Depending on the person Hamlet is with, his behaviour changes from rational to irrational. Hamlet is rational around people he knows he can trust, such as Horatio, Barnardo, and the Players. Hamlet acts irrationally around people he knows he cannot trust, such as Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius. Hamlet acts dumb around Polonius when he points out that the clouds look like a camel, then a weasel, and finally a whale (3.2.159-163). While speaking to Polonius, Hamlet makes it seem as if he has gone entirely mad. Hamlet’s behaviour confuses Polonius as he thinks that keeping Ophelia away from Hamlet has caused this. Hamlet is acting mad so that he can get everyone’s attention off of what he is planning on doing to Claudius. Also, Hamlet behaves rationally with the Players when he writes a speech for them that will make Claudius feel guilty about the murder he committed. When Hamlet speaks to one of the players, he says, “speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you” (3.2.1). Hamlet asks the players to perform the play in front of Hamlet exactly as he had asked them to. By doing so, Hamlet will be able to find out whether or not Claudius poisoned his father or if it was a snake bite. Therefore, Hamlet behaves differently depending on the person, and only acts rationally with a select few individuals that he can

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