“Consequences of Madness in Hamlet”
The idea of madness has appeared in many of the major characters throughout Shakespeare’s tragedy of Hamlet. Madness can be described as “mental incapacity caused by an unmentionable injury.” (Lidz) The absence of reason and logic is the prominent theme revealed by Shakespeare in this play. Throughout the play, all of the characters give the appearance of normal individuals on the outside. However, their inner identities are completely different. Laertes’ madness stems from his longing for revenge. The murder of his father Polonius and death of his sister causes Laertes to loose his ability to reason. Ophelia, Laertes’ sister is a weak and fragile woman. Her dependence on her father, brother, and Hamlet prove to be the cause of her downfall and madness. Claudius, the murdering king, appears to be a friendly, agreeable, and capable leader. However, behind his façade lies a deeply troubled man. Finally, the protagonist Hamlet hides behind his madness and displays violent, even suicidal tendencies. This theme of madness develops as various characters try to cover their secret intentions, either good or evil, in order to achieve their desired outcomes.
Claudius the new king, murders his own brother as a way to seize power and wealth in the kingdom of Denmark. Not only does he become the king, but he also marries Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother and wife of the former king. On the outside, he
displays lamentation and sorrow for the death of the former king. Ironically, he is the one responsible for this vicious act. Claudius also presents a father-like figure to Hamlet by offering him love and sympathy. However, his intentions are misleading. Claudius’ goal is for Hamlet to believe that he is a caring individual. Unfortunately, Hamlet knows that Claudius has murdered his father. Eventually, Claudius takes Hamlet as a threat and danger to him, and plots to end his life as well. Nevertheless, in his confession...