Hamlet isn’t Crazy
At the beginning of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Hamlet has just learned of Old Hamlet’s death and is grieving. Hamlet soon meets his father spirit who tells him that Claudius is the murder. Hamlet feels that it is his obligation to avenge his father’s death by murdering Claudius. Hamlet begins to act insane as the play advances. His depiction of a madman becomes increasingly believable as time goes on, and the characters around him react accordingly. However, through his dialogue and the apparent reasons for his actions, it is clear that he is not really mad and is simply an actor acting insane in order to fulfill his duty to his father.
Hamlet only acts like a madman to perform actions that otherwise would be prohibited without everyone thinking anything of it. This seems to be his plan when he asks Horatio and Marcellus not to make any actions in relation to his “antic disposition” (1.5.192). Hamlet’s madness allows him to talk to Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and Polonius in a manner unsuitable for a prince. He is often disrespectful and insulting in his remarks. During the play he even makes blatant sexual remarks towards Ophelia such as “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs” (3.2.125). His convincing insanity act gives him the chance to relieve his anger towards Ophelia for her leaving him.
Furthermore, Hamlet uses his madness as almost an excuse, and definitely part of his apology, towards Laertes for his murdering of Polonious. Would a madman be able realize he was mad and say it was uncontrollable? Were it not for his insanity he would have been punished rather than feared, pitied, or ignored. Hamlet’s madness pulls attention away from what his father’s death, and puts it on why he has gone insane. His plan to maintain an appearance of a madman is a clever one, and the fact that he does a good job in his act only makes him more clever, not more insane.
Many would assume the murder of Polonius outrageous and say that...