The Death Of Insanity In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

1021 Words 4 Pages
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. This is evident in Hamlet’s excessive mourning of his father. The fact that Hamlet saw the apparition of his father only enhances this newfound insanity, since seeing a ghost in itself can cause one to go insane. Arthur Kirsch recognizes these events as mentally deteriorating to Hamlet in “Hamlet’s Grief”:
There is every reason, in reality, for a son to be troubled and
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In his first soliloquy he states: “O! that this too too sullied flesh would melt … His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world.” (1.2.129-134). Even early in the play, Hamlet is questioning the point of living and feels as if existing at all is a heavy burden. At this point, Hamlet has not even seen the ghost of his father but is melancholy due to the betrayal of his mother, who rapidly remarried after King Hamlet’s death. Ellen Rosenberg mentions Hamlet’s boundless desperation in “Death in Hamlet” in saying: “Hamlet is already considering suicide even before he speaks to his father’s ghost … life is filled with woe, but the yawning, unknown world of death that may be filled with nightmarish experiences for man’s soul will come soon enough without being accelerated through suicide.” In his second soliloquy, he deliberates suicide yet again. He

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