Examining the Madness of Hamlet Portrayed in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The theme of madness in Hamlet has been a widely popular topic in the discussion of the play by both critics and readers alike. It is quite simple to see the reason why, since the play confronts us with evidence to prove the validity of the claim to Hamlet’s true madness, or, rather, a view that the actions and words arising from the apparent madness, is but an feigned "antic disposition" as proclaimed by Hamlet himself. This uncertainty in my view, is the question that has bothered many readers of the play, since a dramatic device like this has it’s purpose. What that purpose is however, is not made clear because of the conflicting evidence of that can be found within the play that supports or contradicts each other. Some have even …show more content…
His initial words to the Ghost:

Be thou a spirit of goblin dam’nd
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable

shows his initial confusion of not knowing what to make of seeing his father’s spirit. First, he trusts :

Whilst memory holds a seat in this distracted globe.
Remember thee! …
And thy commandment alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain
…Yes by heaven

and even swears to heaven. The potential for evil, expressed in the appearance of the dead King signals to him that perhaps there is " something rotten in the state of Denmark". This forms the basis of his later belief that the Ghost is evil:

The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil; and the devil hath power
T’assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me.

We cannot blame Hamlet for this lack of trust. In his view, he has already lost the trust of his mother and Ophelia, the only two women in his life. False friends Rosencrantz and Guildensten, whose arrival at royal request to sound the reason for his madness causes him to become even more cynical of trust in

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