Madness In Hamlet Essay

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Madness has been a fascinating facet of the human psyche for generations of the fine arts, whether it is showcased through the mediums of theatre, art, or literature and the ambiguity of its definition has spurred artists into creating countless great works. Shakespeare’s Hamlet in particular, serves as an intriguing take on the thin line between the sane and mad, as well as a spectacular testament to Shakespeare’s ability to harness the subject of insanity as a thrilling plot device. Hamlet’s state of mind is constantly changing during the duration of the play. The first incident of specific mention of the concept of “madness” is when Hamlet says, “Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd soe'er I bear myself (As I perchance…show more content…
Using his mental delusion as an excuse, Hamlet refers to Polonius as a “fishmonger” and seems to take pleasure in mocking Polonius’ age when Hamlet says, “For the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams—all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently believe, “(II.ii.186-191). This scene in particular is rather goofy and quite humurous in mood. Hamlet uses this feigned insanity to tell Polonius what he truly feels about him, without actually offending him. As the play goes on, Hamlet really seems to teeter on the edge of insanity, especially when he states, “Denmark’s a prison”(II.ii.228). One cannot tell whether or not this statement is muttered by Hamlet, or Hamlet’s insane version of himself. The realization that Hamlet’s mad persona is simply an excuse for Hamlet to share what he truly believes. Hamlet continues to completely let loose all his woes during a soliloquy right before his confrontation with Ophelia in the beginning of Act 3. “To be, or not to be? That is the question—”(III.i.57) is the question that Hamlet asks himself during his soliloquy. Questioning the validity of life and the veil of death, Hamlet is not reciting the typical soliloquy of someone who is well-grounded to his surroundings. This monologue…show more content…
The ghost of Hamlet Sr. emerges from purgatory and confronts both Hamlet and Gertrude, yet Hamlet seems to be the only person that acknowledges the presence of this apparition. Hamlet describes the ghost with the lines, “On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares! His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones, would make them capable.” (IV.iv.89-90) which contrasts heavily with how Hamlet originally saw the ghost. Hamlet initially revered and pitied his father, yet here he seems to be terrified at the prospect of getting within reach of his father’s ethereal hands. Hamlet’s state of mind no longer reflects his surroundings, and in fact seems to contrast with them greatly. Initially, Hamlet seemed paranoid and anxious on top of the dark, cold battlements of Elisnore, but here Hamlet is going through the same anxiety inside a well-lit, comfortable bedroom. This perhaps, signifies the great change in Hamlet’s character compared to when he first met his ghastly

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