The Concept Of Insanity In Hamlet

1070 Words 5 Pages
In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the idea of characters mimicking or doubling each other is very prevalent throughout the text. However, the idea of doubling characters and foiling characters play two different roles throughout the text. Doubling characters indicates that the characters are similar in the way that they act whereas foiling often when two characters contrast or differ greatly from one another. Two of the most important characters in the play, Hamlet and Ophelia, double one another with their madness; however, there are some differences in the way that the characters portray their insanity and use it within their families. Hamlet chooses to have full control over his madness whereas Ophelia actually starts going mad due to the grief …show more content…
One example of how Hamlet uses his madness to manipulate those around him is when Hamlet is talks to Polonius after Hamlet has just run into Ophelia. Polonius is convinced that Hamlet is madly in love with his daughter, Ophelia when, in reality, Hamlet is just pretending to be crazy in order to get his revenge against Claudius. Polonius says, “As it hath used to do that I have found/ The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy” (2.2 51-52). Polonius believes that the cause of Hamlet’s lunacy is because he loves Ophelia but, Hamlet is just tricking everyone around him into buying into the crazy. Hamlet wants nothing more than to seek revenge for his father’s death. For Polonius to say that he has figured out the “cause of Hamlet’s lunacy” is very vain of Polonius because he believes that everything happening in Hamlet’s life is revolving around him and his family. A commonly reoccurring theme in the play is being self-centered and being unaware of those around you. An example of this is when Hamlet is preparing to kill Claudius. Hamlet is unaware of the struggles that Claudius is facing trying to rid himself of the guilt that he is carrying and Hamlet thinks that he is going through his difficult time …show more content…
For example, when Ophelia is talking about her devastating past with Hamlet, she shows her grief through song. While in the presence of the royal family, Ophelia sings, “Let in the maid, that out a maid/ never departed more” (4.5 59-60). Ophelia is indicating that when she first met Hamlet she was a maid but that aspect of her life is long gone and Hamlet took that from her. The possibility of betrayal is an over arcing theme in the play with people constantly betraying those around them. King Hamlet Sr. betrayed Fortinbraus Sr. when he killed him, King Claudius betrayed King Hamlet Sr. when he poisoned his own brother, and Hamlet betrayed Ophelia when he killed her father and didn’t tell her about it. Hamlet also shows his madness through one of the arts, although he portrays his through the actors that came to perform at the castle, rather than through song like Ophelia. Hamlet says to the players, “Come, give us a taste of your/ quality. Come, a passionate speech” (2.2 455-456). In this part of the play, Hamlet is setting up his plan to get the actors to perform a speech that showcases the murder of King Hamlet Sr. which shows the deceitful, vengeance seeking side of Hamlet. He constantly wishes to have attention focuses on him a well, similar to the way that Ophelia’s outbursts are her striving for

Related Documents