The Theme Of Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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“To be or not to be: that is the question” (3.1.56) when analyzing the appearances of the characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A major theme that encircles is the discrepancy between what something appears to be and what it is in reality, or what is false and what is true. This is mainly apparent in Hamlet’s character that is very complex due to the perception on whether he is mad or not. The theme of semblance is heavily intertwined throughout the play because each character portrays a different character to mask their true intentions and wield what other characters are thinking. Hamlet portrays a mad image in order to conceal his true feelings about his father’s death and gain the opportunity to revenge it by killing Claudius. Thus, Hamlet creates an image of insanity to perceive every one, including his love Ophelia. Hamlet tells Ophelia that “virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I loved you not” (3.1.116). He …show more content…
He puts up a veneer of being considerate and concerned, who grieves for his lost brother and cares deeply for Hamlet. In reality, Claudius disguises a dark secret that he is “still possess’d of those effects for which [he] did the murder” (3.3.54). Although Claudius seems to want forgiveness for murdering his brother, he deploys Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet and devise the real meaning behind his insanity. Claudius’ true motives are revealed at the end, when Gertrude, the most faithful to him, is unintentionally killed by the poison set for Hamlet. This sparks Hamlet to take action, “O villany! Ho! Let the door be lock’d: Treachery! Seek it out!” (5.2.284). The illusion Claudius puts on ensures his secret to be hidden is shattered when his intention to murder Hamlet is revealed. His appearance of being a caring king is corrupted, and displaying his true motives is what drives Hamlet to taking

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