Why Is Hamlet Insane

2565 Words11 Pages
Shakespeare's Hamlet has often been considered one of the most intriguing and problematic plays of the English language. Among the many questions that Hamlet raises, lies the subject of whether or not Hamlet actually becomes insane. Using extensive evidence from the text and scholarly criticism, it can be efficiently argued that Hamlet does indeed maintain his sanity throughout the entirety of the play. By analyzing the character of Hamlet, the major theme of appearance versus reality in the play, and the suspicious purposefulness of Hamlet's apparent madness, one can ultimately determine that Hamlet is sane. In order to determine Hamlet's sanity, it is first important to look into his character. Hamlet's most noteworthy character trait is that he is enigmatic. It is impossibly difficult to establish a complete character analysis of Hamlet. There is more to him…show more content…
He tells Guildenstern and Rosencrantz that he is "but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" (Shakespeare 2.2.402). This quotes means that Hamlet is mad only at certain times, and when he wants to act sane, he is able to distinguish between things that do not resemble each other. This quote demonstrates that Hamlet is picking when to act out his insanity. It further proves that beneath his apparent madness, he is actually completely sane. He is capable of recognizing his enemies from his allies, and is calculating at what times to appear mad. Hamlet again assures that he is actually sane to his mother, stating, "it is not madness that I have uttered. Bring me to the test, And (I) the matter will reword, which madness would gambol from" (Shakespeare 3.4.162). Hamlet affirms his sanity a third time when he says, "that I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft" (Shakespeare 3.4.209). This statement further confirms that his act of madness has a specific purpose and is thus

More about Why Is Hamlet Insane

Open Document