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Is Hamlet Mad a Critical Analysis

Is Hamlet Mad a Critical Analysis

  • Submitted By: blaine
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:29 PM
  • Category: Biographies
  • Words: 1224
  • Page: 5
  • Views: 7

Hamlet (Prince of Denmark) is one of Shakespeare's more popular tragedies. (Shakespeare, 1600) The narrative is famous for its soliloquies, the use of fantasy, immorality, deception and desperate attempts at redemption. Madness is the main element driving the plot. This madness is either real, or it is feigned—"antic disposition." (Hamlet 1.5 line 181). When reality is driven by fantasy, one often raises doubts about a man's mental state. Chronic depression (without the closure of mourning) following the death of a loved one is also an important consideration. Hamlet was not mad; he merely feigned it to accomplish his end of vengeance. There is, however, evidence of deep psychological disturbance, more rage, than madness. Anybody whose life's story involves his mother marrying her brother-in-law two months after her husband's death will not react with stoicism. The premise of Hamlet is launched by the appearance of a ghost to several people. This ghost, however, speaks only to Hamlet. On another occasion, the ghost appears only to Hamlet and is not visible to Gertrude, Hamlet's mother. Psychologists would have a field day attempting to analyze the deep schizoid interpretations associated with this fantasy. Despite the above, Shakespeare's fantasy imagery is essential to the plot. It does not make pronouncements on Hamlet's sanity

To understand how Hamlet's "madness" plays an important role in the story, it is necessary to visit a broad outline of the plot. The ghost of Hamlet's father visits Hamlet's friends, and later, Hamlet, to inform him that his death two months prior was a "foul and most unnatural murder." (Hamlet 1.5 line 26) It was his brother Claudius, having an adulterous affair with his wife Gertrude, who had killed the king by pouring poison in his ear. This new information rouses Hamlet from his depression. He vows revenge. He informs his close friends that he will feign madness in his vengeful quest. In the end, Hamlet...

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