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Hamlet Sane vs. Insane

  • Date Submitted: 03/28/2010 01:27 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 69.1 
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Hamlet: Sane vs. Insane?
Throughout Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the main character is faced with the responsibility of gaining revenge for his father’s murder. He decides to make believe that he is crazy as part of his plan to gain the opportunity to kill Claudius. As the play progresses, his depiction of a madman becomes more and more believable, and the characters around him react accordingly. However, through his inner thoughts and the apparent reasons for his actions, it is clear that he is not really mad and is simply an actor pretending to be insane in order to fulfill his duty to his father.
Hamlet claims to be insane because it can allow him to say and do things that he wouldn’t be allowed to do if he wasn’t. This is part of his original plan when he asks Hortatio and Marcellus to not make any comments on his “antic disposition” (1.4.192). His madness allows him to talk to Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and also Polonius in a disrespectful manner without catching the blame for it. During the play for example, he makes many sexual puns to Ophelia such as “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs” (3.2.125). His acting gives him the chance to vent his anger towards her.
When Hamlet enters Gertrude’s chamber in Act III, scene 4 we see a man that is filled with rage, and far from calm. Before he enters the chamber he says that he “shall speak daggers, but use none”(3.2.387) Hamlet is so furious that he knows he could kill Gertrude but he knows that he cannot because his fathers ghost told him that he must kill Claudius and leave his mother to heaven. The ghost is never clear in this scene because his mother never sees the ghost but Hamlet does. Hamlet tries to convince her that it is there but Gertrude thinks that he is insane. Once the ghost reminds Hamlet of his duties Hamlet gets back on track and tries to speak more calmly to his mother.
While inside of the chamber and between the yelling at his mother and the appearance of the ghost Hamlet...

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