Representation of Mental Illness in Hamlet by Shakespeare Essay
Bedlam’s residents fascinated those on the outside, but the institution itself worked to segregate those with mental illnesses (Cross 23). As described by Anna Harpin, Bedlam achieved this segregation not only by placing the building of the edge town, but also through the stereotypes of mental illness that instilled fear in many that were incorrectly educated on the “dangers of the mentally ill” (Harpin 335-337). In the film, Almereyda seems quite aware of this separation between the public and the mentally insane (Cieoelak 109) and chooses to use the Denmark Corporation as his own Bedlam. The film’s characters, who gain prominence within the large corporation, are often in the public eye and as a result openly displaying their own personal struggles. However, the corporation itself separates those who see them through media portrayals, as they are not able to view what goes on when the representatives of the media are not there.
Quite often, writers describe the personal struggles of Ophelia and Hamlet as melancholy or mad. However, the differentiation between these terms is unclear. English scholar Robert Burton describes these differences in his work, the Anatomy of Melancholy. Burton defines melancholy as “a perpetual anguish of the soul fastened on one thing”. Madness, although similar in nature,