Madness And Mental Insanity In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

1354 Words 5 Pages
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. On several occasions, people acknowledge that Hamlet acts strange; however, they do not attribute his strange behavior to mental instability. Claudius …show more content…
If Claudius is capable of murdering his own brother, he would have no guilt in killing Hamlet. Hamlet acknowledges that Claudius would severely punish him if he knows that Hamlet knows the truth, so Hamlet “feigned madness to disarm the murderer’s suspicion-in short, to save his own life” (Oxon). By acting crazy, Hamlet saves his own life. Hamlet utilizes madness as a justification for his change in behavior. The information he obtains from the ghost is too harsh. As a result, Hamlet’s behavior changes, and he requires a reason for the sudden change in behavior. The easiest way to justify it is for him to pretend to be crazy. Hamlet intends to suppress the suspicion in his uncle by acting crazy as a justification for his behavioral change. Hamlet knows that Claudius could easily kill him, so he “he acts the madman for his safety” (Hugo 30). Besides utilizing madness as a defensive mechanism, he also uses “it as a tool or a veneer to act irrationally and assert his opinions about matters without being made accountable for them” (Bali). It is true that Hamlet exploits madness to insult people without worrying of the repercussions. On several occasions, Hamlet insults Polonius, calling him a fish monger among other things, without facing any type of punishment. He insults Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, calling them intellectually inferior to him. Thus, it is Hamlet’s best interest to act crazy …show more content…
Throughout the play, Hamlet retains the ability to think logically as is demonstrated by his ability to draw conclusions after analyzing a situation. His mental sharpness is also present when he outwits Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. Most importantly, the strongest rebuttal that desecrates the theory that Hamlet is truly crazy revolves around the fact that his madness was not consistent. Hamlet only acts crazy among certain people. Hamlet acts crazy in the presence of Claudius, but he acts perfectly sane when he is alone or with Horatio. Therefore, Hamlet cannot use madness as a justification for killing

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