Madness In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The question of whether Hamlet was truly mad or not has sparked many conflicting answers about The Tragedy of Hamlet. However, there is more powerful evidence pointing to the fact that Hamlet is truly mad. As Shakespeare develops his characters, Hamlet seems to become crazier as the play progresses. Hamlet’s true madness is revealed in a number of different ways. A few examples of how Hamlet goes mad are shown when Hamlet ignores Horatio’s warning not to speak to the ghost, when Hamlet shows no remorse for taking a human life, and in the appearance of a ghost that only Hamlet can see. Shakespeare uses prince Hamlet as a demonstration of insanity as he goes mad after speaking to the ghost of his father. The remainder of the play supports and …show more content…
Although Hamlet believes he has killed Claudius through the curtains he feels no regret when he discovers that it was in fact Polonius. After this discovery Hamlet bellows: “Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell. I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune. Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger” (3.4.32-34). While discovering that it was not Claudius, Hamlet does not feel guilty but instead shows a lack of respect by saying that Polonius got what he deserved. This is psychopathic behavior, by not feeling any guilt toward the murder of a man. Thus further supports the idea that Hamlet is truly mad. Hamlet then continues to show a lack of culpability for the murder of Polonius when talking to Claudius. As he talks to Claudius, Hamlet tells him that Polonius is at supper and mentions: “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e 'en at him.” (4.3.21-26). With this quote you can see Hamlet’s psychopathic tendency of feeling no guilt for killing an innocent man. This psychopathic behavior highlights Shakespeare’s true intention to make Hamlet go …show more content…
The fact that no one else sees the ghost further reveals Hamlet’s madness. At the beginning of the play everyone, including Hamlet and Horatio, can see the ghost. However, while Hamlet is talking to Gertrude in her room he sees the ghost of his father when she sees nothing. Hamlet even pauses mid-sentence to direct his attention to the ghost and speak to him saying, “Save me and hover o 'er me with your wings, you heavenly guards!—what would your gracious figure?” (3.4.105-106). Hamlet, pausing mid-sentence while talking to his mother to speak to the ghost which Gertrude cannot see, demonstrates how Shakespeare used the ghost to show Hamlet’s madness. Before Hamlet ever talked to the ghost, the guards of the castle could see the ghost along with Horatio and Hamlet. Disregarding Horatio’s warning about talking to the ghost will drive him mad, Hamlet becomes the only one who can see ghost, meaning the ghost becomes a figment of Hamlet’s imagination. After Hamlet pauses and directs his attention to the ghost, Gertrude is taken back and responds to Hamlet saying “Alas, he’s mad!” (3.4.107). Gertrude, accusing Hamlet of going mad, shows how the ghost proves just that. Gertrude up until this point stood behind Hamlet and empathized with the fact that he had recently lost his father. However, when she accuses him

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