Insanity And Irrationality In Hamlet

2370 Words 9 Pages
In Shakespeare’s most famous play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark, the protagonist Hamlet is portrayed as a depressed and bitter pessimist, whom holds great anger towards his uncle and disgust towards his mother after the death of his father. In light of its great popularity, the story has also been widely debated in terms of Hamlet himself, as actors and scholars alike seek to determine whether his insanity was merely a purposeful display or truly legitimate. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term insanity may be defined as either “the state of being seriously mentally ill” or of “extreme foolishness or irrationality” (The Oxford Dictionary, 2014). As an individual who is overtaken by questions surrounding his father’s …show more content…
Is it better to wait for our sufferings to end on their own, with time, or to take control of one’s fate for the sake of themselves and all else? For some, the idea of suicide could be considered as maddening as murder, or at least a mark of insanity. Hamlet himself views such lines of thinking as the unraveling of his own mind, due to all that he has lost or been unable to prove. On the other hand, he views such as an opportunity to find an escape from such sorry, pain and grief. Thus following the Freudian pleasure principle, in which the mind is believed to automatically seek out pleasurable experiences in order to avoid, rather than face, the pain of one’s mental or physical state. In a way, it is meant to unequivocally balance the elements of their personality, so that they may somehow continue living despite the perils of their …show more content…
For Polonius, Lord Chamberlain and father of Ophelia, Hamlet mistook him for Claudius when he cried out from behind the draperies, while also blinded by his want to have Claudius dead for killing his father. The play depicts that Polonius knew of Hamlet’s insanity, after telling both the King and Queen, and after witnessing it himself, stating, “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” (Shakespeare, 2.2, p. 205-206). Thus when Claudius is killed by Hamlet with poison, forced due to Hamlet’s revenge both his father and mother’s deaths, such should have been expected. Especially since the King ordered Hamlet’s death as well, stating “I like him not, nor stands it safe with us…To let his madness range” (3.3, p. 321). Finally, Laertes, son of Polonius, is killed and kills Hamlet by means of a duel, through self-defense; which before Hamlet proclaims, “you must needs have heard, how I am punish’d…With a sore ditraction” (5.2, p. 229-230). The last can be considered the end of Hamlet’s sanity and insanity, but such cannot be said for the others. For the death of Polonius, such heavy rage combined with a tragic and unforgivable mistake can rot a man’s mind, ever so slowly. Such provides nourishment for other deep seeded tendencies, leading to greater darkness within his mind and more

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