How Does Shakespeare Present Insanity In Hamlet

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Sanity vs. Insanity is predominate theme portrayed by both Hamlet and Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet. While both characters are driven mad, mainly by the death of each ones father, they portray their madness through their new founded personalities. Hamlet's madness begins with the death of his father. With a limited time frame to grieve his fathers death, he is faced with the remarriage of his mother Gertrude to his fathers very own brother, Claudius. However, a test of his sanity is truly played out when Hamlet is haunted by the ghost of his father. In this act, he learns that it was Claudius that executed his father. This knowledge consumes Hamlet's mind, and drives him to behaviors that do not go unnoticed by the other characters. For example, in Act 2 Scene 1, Hamlet interrupts Ophelia while in her room, alarming her immediately. "And with a look so piteous in purport, as if he had been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors- he comes before me" (Hamlet 38). Hamlet also provides the audience insights to his mad thoughts through his conversations and soliloqys. In Act 3, Scene 1 Hamlet conducts his "To be, or…show more content…
The irony resides in the fact that Ophelia is the one driven mad by love. Her madness begins when Hamlet's turn to insanity has already begun. In Act 3 Scene 1 Ophelia's idea of the love she had with Hamlet is belittled when she finds him saying, "I loved you not" (Hamlet 65). The words come easily from Hamlets mouth but affect Ophelia in heartbreak, leaving her crying to the heavens. Ophelia's weak characteristics cause her to continue to endure Hamlet's unpredictable actions. She continues to remain loyal to him throughout his mood swings and uprisings. In doing so, Ophelia is only damaging herself. When Hamlet kills Ophelia's father near the end of Act 3, he is not faced with remorse, let alone the thought of what he has done could affect

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