Examples Of Mental Illness In Hamlet

1799 Words8 Pages
Madness or Illness? Mental illness has been portrayed in many works throughout literary history, but none seem to capture it so accurately as Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play delves deep into the stigma around mental illness and exemplifies intricate webs of deception. Hamlet’s desire to feign madness inevitably results in intense mental illness, which, when left unrecognized and untreated, leads to exceptionally dreadful circumstances. This will be explored through the trivialization of mental illness, the repercussions and suffering caused by this, and the effects of Hamlet’s behaviour on those around him. First, the trivialization of Hamlet’s mental illness by those close to him leads to bottled up anger and frustration. Although the play is set in a time period where people…show more content…
His family labels what would be diagnosed today as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and psychosis, as simple “madness”. This proves to be detrimental to Hamlet’s conscience and seems to aggravate his illnesses further. There are many occurrences of simulated ‘madness’ in Hamlet, so both his family and readers find it difficult to differentiate between falsehood and verity. Hamlet realises he can take advantage of his family’s obliviousness, and decides he will pretend to be mad in order to find the truth about his father’s death. After being confronted by his father’s ghost, Hamlet is warning Horatio and Marcellus not to talk to anyone about what they experienced. He doesn’t want the residents of the castle to know about his father’s ‘return’ from the dead. He hatches a plan to act crazy, and is probably aware of the dramatic effects it will have on almost everyone in his life: “How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself (as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on)” (Shakespeare, 1.5.171-73) Hamlet is telling his friends to anticipate strange behaviour from him and seems to predict a

More about Examples Of Mental Illness In Hamlet

Open Document