Hamlet

Hamlet Madness After Hamlet has discovered the truth about his father, he goes through a very traumatic period, which is interpreted as madness by readers and characters. With the death of his father and the hasty, incestuous remarriage of his mother to his uncle, Hamlet is thrown into a suicidal frame of mind in which “the uses of this world”seem to him “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” No man in his right state contemplates suicide and would take his life due to human frailty. Ophelia tells us that before the events of the play Hamlet was a model courtier, soldier and scholar, “The glass of fashion and the mould of form,/ The observed of all observers.” A modern boy scout to say the least, but as the play unwinds, his actions and thoughts catch him and slowly turn him insane. Not to say that he was a crazed madman out of touch with reality as was Ophelia, but a man driven crazy by thought. Hamlet’s behavior throughout the play, especially towards Ophelia is inconsistent. He jumps into Ophelia’s grave, and fights with Laertes in her grave.

He professes “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers/Could not, with all their quantity of love,/ Make up my sum” [Act V, scene I, lines 250-253], during the fight with Laertes in Ophelia’s grave, but he tells her that he never loved her, when she returns his letters and gifts, while she was still alive. Hamlet subtly hints his awareness of his dissolving sanity as he tells Laertes that he killed Polonius in a fit of madness [Act V, scene II, lines 236-250] Once Ophelia meets Hamlet and speaks with him her love abandons him. Hamlet realizes that his mother and step father are aware of this love and might use this to end his threat. Hamlet must end their thoughts of using Ophelia to rid him of his condition.

To do this he must destroy all the current feelings Ophelia has for him and he does so very well, perhaps too well. Either his love for Ophelia was never as strong as he said, which I doubt, or he has really gone insane by assuming every situation is going to happen and he sacrifices her love for revenge. An honest man would not have done so. Hamlet has violent outbursts towards his mother. His outburst seems to be out of jealousy, as a victim to the Oedipus complex.

He alone sees his father’s ghost in his mother’s chambers. Every other time the ghost appeared someone else has seen it. During this scene he finally shows his madness, because his mother does not see the ghost. “On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!/ his form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones / Would make them Page 2 capable.” [Act III, scene IV, lines 126-128]. Throughout the play, there are also supporting factors to argue Hamlet’s sanity, as these details compromise his madness, to balance out his mental state.

Hamlet tells Horatio that he is going to feign madness, and that if Horatio notices any strange behavior from Hamlet, it is because he is putting on an act. [Act I, scene V, lines 166-180]. He knows that he is not the same as he used to be and fears he is going insane, so by telling his closes friend that he is just act, he covers his tracks. “It is not, nor it cannot come to good./But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.” All he can do in this frustrated state is to lash out with bitter satire at the evils he sees and then relapse into suicidal melancholy. Hamlet has mood swings as his mood changes abruptly throughout the play. Hamlet appears to act mad when he hears of his father’s murder.

At the time he speaks wild and whirling words: “Why, right; you are I’ the right; And so, without more circumstance at all, I hold it fit that we shake hands and part..” [Act I, scene V, lines 127-134]. After Hamlet kills Polonius he will not tell anyone where the body is. Instead he assumes his ironic matter, “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. / A certain convocation of political worms a e’en at him.” [Act IV, scene III, lines 20-21] In the two months after his meeting with the ghost, he puzzles the court with his assumed madness but does nothing concrete to effect or further his revenge. His inability to either accept the goodness of all life or act to destroy its evils now begins to trouble him as much as his outward hysteria.

Hamlet appears to be insane, after Polonius’s death, in act IV scene II. In conclusion, Hamlet was a genius. In his mind were thoughts and plans in which he always knew each persons next step before they did it. Due to his procrastination and thoughts of revenge he became so overwhelmed with every situation and plot that he entangled himself in his own schemes and had to sacrifice his sanity. Only then did he truly become insane and couldn’t control the web that he was weaving.

Even if the madness was true or false, as Hamlet portrayed the role of a madman he took it upon himself to be lost in his control of actions.

December 21, 2018