The Role Of Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Hamlet establishes a façade of insanity to uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious death. In the act of doing so, Hamlet encounters several instances in which he must betray the family and friends whom he holds nearest to his heart. Polonius becomes a victim of Hamlet’s reckless outrage while attempting to act out his insanity in front of his mother. Secondly, Ophelia experiences Hamlet’s abusive words that are motivated by his madness, which drives her to her own grave. Finally, Laertes becomes the last victim of Hamlet’s strange behavior through his endeavors to avenge his own father’s death. Hamlet’s plan to create an aloof profile by portraying an antic disposition may seem clever, but in reality, …show more content…
The father of Laertes and Ophelia, Polonius is a companion of Uncle Claudius and seeks to aide him in any way possible. After speaking with his daughter, Polonius proposes a plan to Claudius about the reasoning behind Hamlet’s apparent madness Polonius says, “…But yet do I believe The origin and commencement of his grief Sprung from neglected love” (III.2.176-178). Polonius’ theory entails that Hamlet is not mad, but simply mad in love for Ophelia, which brings about the plan to appeal to Hamlet’s senses. According to the plan, by placing Ophelia as the lure to Hamlet’s emotions, Hamlet will come back to reality and be drawn out of his strange behavior. However, instead Hamlet refuses to opt into Polonius’ plan. Soon after, Polonius spies on Hamlet during a discussion between Gertrude and Hamlet for the King’s sake. He hides behind a curtain during the intimate discussion about Hamlet’s behavior. When Hamlet hears a noise behind the curtain, he impulsively draws his sword and strikes what the thinks is the king. However, a slayed Polonius falls from behind and immediately dies. Hamlet’s quick actions have destroyed the life of an innocent man without remorse or responsibility. Hamlet’s lunatic behavior takes its first victim as Polonius, who does not deserve the punishment he has …show more content…
Polonius becomes the first victim of Hamlet’s lunatic endeavors due to his impulsive thoughts when Hamlet hears someone spying on his conversation with his mother. Ophelia’s death is taken soon after because of Hamlet’s abusive and degrading words to her fragile personality which ultimately break her heart and cause her to commit suicide. Finally, Laertes suffers the consequences from Hamlet’s psychotic behavior which results in a tragic and bloody finale to the end of the play. Hamlet believed that by displaying an antic disposition, he would not pose such a threat to his Uncle and his colleagues. However, in doing so, Hamlet created much more of an issue than he would have if he remained sane, which conclusively caused not only his own death, but the deaths of his family and friends. Through his antic disposition, Hamlet remains the primary reason behind the many murders that resulted in Denmark’s royal family and their closest

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