Theme Of Madness In Hamlet

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Madness. Rarely has one small word developed such a complex meaning throughout history and in the modern era. Madness is frequently viewed as a product of manipulation, as a state of being mentally ill. The truth, however, is that madness is an intricate mean of expression. It provides an escape from reality, when one’s environment is the source of deep pain and confusion. In essence, madness is not a disease, but rather a coping mechanism that exposes a person’s demeanor and unconscious liberation. Throughout history, authors have used this profound concept to enhance and complexify literature. It is especially prevalent in classic revenge tragedies, including William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare uses madness as a reoccurring theme in …show more content…
Therefore, in Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia to masterfully manipulate the motif of madness to reveal truths and deeper meanings within the text. He skillfully expresses how Hamlet’s madness is a disguise for his motives, whereas Ophelia’s madness is a last resort, which liberates her from a life not worth living.

Another character through which the theme of madness is explored is that of Ophelia. Though Shakespeare explores madness as disguise for Hamlet’s true strengths, Ophelia’s descent into madness on the other hand, is a last resort. Unable to liberate herself form her prescribed role as a daughter, and lover, she truly, and innocently, goes mad. First, Ophelia must listen to her father, and must not see Hamlet regardless of her feelings for him, and vice-versa. Her actions are controlled. Her complete submission to her father’s rules and her tolerance towards Hamlet’s harsh words proves that she is part of a patriarchy. Ophelia is burdened by the accusations hurled at her by

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