Hamlet: Truly Insane, or Truly Clever?
What is madness? Is someone mad simply because they are different? In return, does that person see the same about the world? Madness can be defined as insanity or rage. Is Hamlet truly insane, or is it one big act in order to give justice to his irrational actions and to keep his vengeful motives a secret?
Madness is a condition that results from a person’s obsession with his objective. This total preoccupation with a specific mission blurs the person’s reality. His mission consumes him, devouring his life and leaving him feeling as an incomplete person. Rages, unwarranted erratic behavior, and evil-doing are symptoms of madness. Much of Hamlet’s” madness” is due to the necessity to revenge his father’s death; however, he definitely has a natural tendency to manipulate situations when needed.
Shakespeare offers clear evidence pointing to Hamlet's sanity beginning with the first scene of the play. Hamlet begins with guards whose main importance in the play is to give credibility to the ghost. If Hamlet were to see his father's ghost in private, the argument for his madness would greatly improve. Yet, not one, but three men together witness the ghost before even thinking to tell Hamlet. As Hamlet says, "O that this too sullied flesh would melt,” we can see that he is depressed and confused, but it does not mean he is insane. After the first encounter with the ghost, Hamlet greets his friends cheerfully and acts as if the news is good rather than devastating. This shows Hamlet's ability to manipulate his behavior.
Another example of Hamlet’s behavior manipulation is his meeting with Ophelia while his uncle and Polonius are hiding behind a curtain. Hamlet somehow suspects the eavesdroppers, just as he suspects that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are sent by the King and Queen to question him and investigate the cause of his supposed madness. His feelings for Ophelia have already been established. His...