A Complex Identity: The Inner Self, the Outer Self and the Mad Self

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A Complex Identity: the Inner Self, the Outer Self, and the Mad Self

Intro
It is often assumed that people act differently from themselves when they are in the company of others in order to make an impression. This begs the question of when one is acting as himself, and what defines what his true personality is. If a man is complex and dynamic, then isn’t he some form of himself because he himself is the one acting? In his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare illustrates how both inner identity and the public identity are dynamic and must both exist for either to exist, and likewise shows how Hamlet’s public madness is a product of his inner craft. By interconnecting traits of madness with brilliance and intentional behavior with candid thought,
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A Complex Identity: the Inner Self, the Outer Self, and the Mad Self

Intro
It is often assumed that people act differently from themselves when they are in the company of others in order to make an impression. This begs the question of when one is acting as himself, and what defines what his true personality is. If a man is complex and dynamic, then isn’t he some form of himself because he himself is the one acting? In his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare illustrates how both inner identity and the public identity are dynamic and must both exist for either to exist, and likewise shows how Hamlet’s public madness is a product of his inner craft. By interconnecting traits of madness with brilliance and intentional behavior with candid thought, Shakespeare formulates Hamlet's versatile identity to reflect the complex nature of human identity.

Inner Self
Hamlet explains to his mother “it is not madness/ that I have uttered. Bring me to the test, / and I the matter will reword, which madness / would gambol from” (3.4.163-165). When it serves his purpose to force Gertrude to seriously consider his words, he admits to her that it isn’t madness that is controlling his words (rather his words that control his madness), and that he can prove it by explaining himself, which a man who was speaking from madness couldn’t do. He admits to his mother, himself, and the audience that “[he] essentially [is] not in madness, / but mad in craft” (3.4.208-210). Here he is intentionally, for a short

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