Madness And Insanity In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Improved Essays
In Hamlet, Shakespeare shows that insane revenge is never the answer. An insane pursuit for revenge will only cause more pain and suffering. Suffering in which any number of variables could have prevented including control over Hamlet 's mood swings. This can is shown when his decisions caused the death of Laertes, Ophelia, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I believe that Hamlet was insane, and at times his desperation to avenge his father made it worse for not only him but also the other characters. Each character brought out Hamlet’s same side and insane side. Today Hamlet would have bipolar disorder, a condition affecting 2.6% of the population. The dictionary definition of insanity is “A state of mind that prevents …show more content…
After all, the word 'madness ' is specifically used 18 times in the play, and the majority of the quotes revolves around one of the central questions in Hamlet: Is Hamlet mad?” Wrote Karen Harker University of North Texas. Hamlet uses his insanity to his advantage several times throughout the play, Hamlet reserves his insanity to his main target Claudius and his allies. Ophelia was a target in Hamlet’s rage, he used words like: "are you honest" (III.i.104), "are you fair" (III.i.106). Due to his mother’s obstruction in Hamlet’s vocation to kill Claudius, Hamlet "speak daggers" (III.ii.387) to Gertrude. Hamlet seriously altered Gertrude’s and especially Ophelia’s state of mind with his words of insanity which lead to the death of Polonius and the Death of the woman Hamlet loved Ophelia. In addition to Gertrude and Ophelia, Hamlet turned his back on his two friends that he had known his whole life and had them killed. All that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were supposed to find out what "unknown afflicts [Hamlet] thus" (II.ii.17). But Hamlet’s insanity and Claudius’ greed and skepticism led to the death of these two innocents who were only serving their king and queen. Just like Ophelia only wanted to serve her father and Polonius only wanted to serve his king for his own …show more content…
However, the castle guards along with Horatio see the ghost, but that may have just been a minor coincidence because they could not speak to the ghost. But Hamlet had a full conversation with him. K. Deighton wrote in his article [The Question of Hamlet 's Sanity] “Dr. Ray goes on to note Hamlet 's "bad dreams" as one of the symptoms of impending insanity” which can support a theory of seeing the ghost was a dream of Hamlet’s that he turned to reality. However that theory does not explain how Horatio knew so much about the Ghost unless, Hamlet explained it to him so well he as well perceived it as a reality. “The spirit that I have seen/ may be the devil, and the devil hath power/ t ' assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps, out of my weakness and my melancholy,/ as he is very potent with such spirits,/ abuses me to damn me.” (II.ii.627-632) Hamlet was arguing with himself to decide if the ghost was actually the ghost of his father of the devil here to tempt him. Which led me to the conclusion that Hamlet was insane and a danger to all of his family and

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Polonius did everything to keep them apart, which eventually drove them both insane. The murder of Polonius not only sparked anger in the King, it sparked anger in Laertes, Polonius’s son. This specific scene of violence contributes to the overall meaning of this play by showcasing one of Hamlet’s diverse emotions. The lack of trust and constant paranoia controls Hamlet’s ability to think and act sanely. After Polonius is killed by Hamlet, his mother is quick to ask why he would commit such a sin.…

    • 1500 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hamlet's Madness In Hamlet

    • 1624 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Hamlet is one of the remarkable plays by William Shakespeare. Among the many questions that the play raises, lies the subject of whether or not Hamlet, the protagonist of the play is actually insane. The question of Hamlet's sanity has divided the readers of Shakespeare into two opposing sides; one defending his madness as feigned, and the other as unfeigned madness. Is his madness feigned or real? It is certainly understandable for someone who has just lost their father, and gained a stepfather to suddenly go mad.…

    • 1624 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    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).…

    • 2370 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    First, Hamlet triggers the conflict between the two of them, causing trouble within both of their families. Hamlet kills Laertes father, Polonius, which causes indirectly invites Laertes to seek revenge. As a result, Hamlet’s family turns on him and Laertes’ sister, Ophelia, commits suicide; this shows the chaos that arises as a result of Hamlet’s immoral action. Later, at Ophelia’s funeral procession, Hamlet and Laertes’ conflict heightens and causes more distress within the family. Laertes says, “[t]he devil take thy soul” (V, i, 243), which then leads to the two of them wrestling in front of Ophelia’s grave in front of family.…

    • 1045 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hamlet's Madness

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Polonius realizes Hamlet’s madness, so he believes Hamlet will propose to Ophelia untruthfully. Ophelia’s brother, Laertes, also warns her Hamlet’s love is no longer the same as it once was. All these things combined make Ophelia become mad. She cannot handle the loss of her own father and the loss of Hamlet’s love. As the play continues Ophelia’s madness begins to get increasing worse.…

    • 981 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    O God! God!/How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable/Seem to me all the uses of this world!” Here, Hamlet is in a state of extreme grief over his father 's death which is understandable because the norm of society is to grieve or be irrational which causes a loop where the irrational becomes the rational. Those around Hamlet, on the other hand, find Hamlet 's reactions to the death exaggerating and maybe even mad. Often, insanity is associated with sympotms of hallucinations and when Hamlet finds out that his father is a ghost how can the reader be sure that this ghost is “real” not a figment of Hamlet 's imagination. In the beginning of the play others are able to see Hamlet 's father later on Hamlet is the only one who is able to see the ghost.…

    • 963 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In life and in literature, a person’s surroundings and the situations that they encounter can affect their mental state. This is exemplified in Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Hamlet claims to be feigning insanity throughout the entire play, but there are many factors that suggest that he is, in fact, mad. The death of young Hamlet’s father, King Hamlet, is what initially causes his sanity to fall into a downward spiral. Though the relationship between the King and his son is unclear, King Hamlet’s death clearly has a negative impact on young Hamlet.…

    • 1021 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Sarcasm In Hamlet

    • 1575 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The only flaw in Hamlet showing signs of insanity was that his relationships with Ophelia and his mother Gertrude grew worse. Also during the pressure of all this Hamlet is impacted upon depression because he is over thinking everything and it is just because he is over thinking everything and it is just building more and more stress upon him. One reason the stress was building was because of the fact that hamlet was overthinking the whole situation and wasn’t taking action when he had the chances. It was only because of Hamlet's indecisiveness that soon led to prolonged conflict and eventually his death. All Hamlet wanted to do was to kill the murderer Cladius who murdered his father and what did he get in return?…

    • 1575 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Hamlet, written by Shakespeare, the main character, Hamlet, discovers the truth, concerning his father’s death after an encounter with his father’s ghost. The truth propels him to take actions most of which violate social norms, so he is wrongly perceived as crazy. Hamlet takes advantages of this to justify killing Polonius. However, his defense does not possess any validity because he is not crazy. Hamlet’s madness is feigned because there are multiple people, including Hamlet, asserting that he is not crazy, it is evident he is utilizing his madness as a tool, and his madness is inconsistent.…

    • 1354 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Gertrude, his wife that he supposedly loved, is killed by the poison that Claudius poured. Claudius murmurs that “It is the poison’d cup: it is too late” (V.ii.235) as Gertrude drinks from the poison filled cup. His plans involved murdering King Hamlet; however, the murders of Prince Hamlet and Gertrude symbolize the chaos that arose from Claudius’s need to rearrange his world. Finally, as a consequence of his uncontrolled ambition, Claudius personally suffers and creates chaos in the kingdom of Denmark. In the final battle, Claudius is murdered by his own personal treachery, and as the whole royal family falls, Fortinbras, the ruler of Norway takes over his beloved kingdom of Denmark.…

    • 1162 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics