Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet

Superior Essays
“Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage” said by Ray Bradbury (Good Reads). For Hamlet, in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Denmark has him locked inside of a cage of confusion. After Old Hamlet’s death, Hamlet is sent into a depression like phase where he does not know what to do with himself. However, once he meets with Old Hamlet’s ghost, he suddenly has a surge of motivation. This motivation makes Hamlet appear insane to the people around him, and his devious personality allows him to use this to his advantage. He must kill his uncle Claudius to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet is given very simple instructions but has a lot of trouble executing his plan due to his indecisiveness. Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, …show more content…
Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius have several theories for why Hamlet is acting this way. Polonius confronts the King and Queen to tell them what he suspects is making Hamlet insane. He is convinced that Ophelia is the reason the Hamlet is mad; ever since Ophelia has ignored Hamlet, he has been acting strangely. Polonius states, “Fell into sadness, then into a fast, / Thence to a watch, thence to a weakness” (II.ii.154-56). Polonius is saying the Hamlet is depressed because of his love for his daughter. His depression has sent him down a slippery slope to insanity. Polonius compares Hamlet to a weakness, because he has become Claudius’s biggest problem and therefore an Achilles heel for the Kingdom of Denmark. This shows that Hamlet is being carefully watched by both Claudius and Polonius as he continuously acts more insane every hour. Gertrude is not convinced that love is the reason for Hamlet’s insanity. She says, “I doubt it is no other but the main,/ His father’s death and o’erhasty marriage” (II.ii.59-60). This shows that Gertrude believes that Old Hamlet’s death and her fast remarriage is the reason for his actions. The audience can see that she is feeling guilty of her actions. Gertrude loves Hamlet and wishes that she wasn’t the reason for his madness. After this, the King quickly replies that they will soon find out; this …show more content…
Convincing the others that he was insane allowed him to perform certain actions that he otherwise would not have. Hamlet’s ability to process his plans prevents him from killing Claudius when he had that chance, but his swiftness to kill Polonius came from an impromptu surprise. Hamlet’s proficiency at acting mad throughout Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, allows him to have the advantage in most situations except for when he is indecisive; this flaw prompts Hamlet to pass up the first opportunity to kill Claudius. Insanity, like everything else, is relative. It lies in the eyes of the

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