Hamlet Madness Essay

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He is also indirectly responsible for the deaths of these characters.

Hamlet's display of mental illness allows him to prove to himself that Claudius did, in fact, murder his father.

Hamlet tells Horatio and Marcellus that he plans to “put an antic disposition on” (I.v).

His “mad” remarks to Polonius—“you are a fishmonger” (II.ii)—are too silly and sometimes too clever to be genuinely mad: even Polonius notes “How pregnant sometimes his replies are” ().

Madness and Hamlet Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare's most honored works and is a piece of literature, which has been studied in depth by many a scholar.

The storyline of Hamlet follows a vein of madness that begins with Claudius' murdering King Hamlet and ending with the tragic killing of almost every main character.Despite the evidence that Hamlet is actually mad, we also see substantial evidence that he is just pretending.The most obvious evidence is that Hamlet himself says he is going to pretend to be mad, suggesting he is at least sane enough to be able to tell the difference between disordered and rational behavior.In the same scene Hamlet tells us that he is wearing “solemn black” and a “dejected ‘havior” (), which audiences in Shakespeare’s time would have recognised as signs of “melancholy,” a condition which Renaissance doctors believed could lead to madness.Although several characters see the Ghost during Act One, only Hamlet hears it speak, which opens the possibility that the Ghost’s speech is a hallucination of Hamlet’s.After the king's death, Claudius and Gertrude marry within a matter of months.This quick marriage circumvents the standard mourning period of one year that is expected of a queen.The first line addressed to Hamlet is: “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” (): Claudius thinks it’s strange and unhealthy that Hamlet is still grieving for his father.Similarly, when Hamlet is sent to England, he acts skilfully and ruthlessly to escape, which suggests that even at this late stage in the play he is capable of perfectly sane behavior.For every piece of evidence that Hamlet is mad, we can also point to evidence that he’s sane, which contributes to the mystery of Hamlet’s character.


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