Hamlet Madness Redefined Essay

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Madness Redefined Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been thoroughly analyzed in all the major themes the play explores, however, the massive extent to which madness is examined by scholars is incontrovertible. Madness being a flexible category in how it’s analyzed and interpreted, Hamlet makes for a curious discussion. In Hamlet, Shakespeare weaves madness throughout his play through means of plot development, as use for both a protagonist and an antagonist, and as a way to identify it as something other than how it is typically perceived, in other words, flipping the idea of madness upside down. Shakespeare weaves the idea of madness into Hamlet in stages, the idea being to move the play from the exposition to the action. The introduction of madness…show more content…
The idea of madness, feigned or legitimate, catalyzes the plot, drives it upwards to the next level, beginning with questioning whether or not Hamlet has a tenuous grip on reality, or if his ploy is just tactfully masterful. Hamlet admits to himself saying, “the spirit that I have seen may be the 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” (II.ii.627-632). Not only does the audience question sanity, but as does Hamlet himself. Shakespeare begins to further weave in madness as not just a detail in Hamlet’s plan to kill his uncle, but as a means to deepen and raise the stakes of the plot. An air of uncertainty arises, a feeling of which is not easily suppressed and doesn’t seem ready to be extinguished, “thus, as formulated on the platform, the fundamental danger posed to reason in the world of the play is that it might lose sovereignty over emotion” (Levy 1). As the weight of Hamlet’s task weighs on him, the more erratic and uncalculated his behavior becomes. Hamlet’s erratic behavior is observed when he, untidy and in disarray, bursts into Ophelia’s sewing closet, and came before her

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