Essay A Study of Madness in Hamlet

1843 Words 8 Pages
A Study of Madness in Hamlet

I think that one of the most poignant themes of Hamlet is the presentation and importance of madness. We first see a glimpse of madness with Hamlet who pretends to be mad, using it as a cunning mask while he battles with his own mind and conscience over the idea of revenge. There is also the character of Ophelia who turns mad with grief when she hears of her father's death.

Although while Hamlet is holding up this pretence of madness he slowly becomes drawn into a depression, which is so deep at some points it is unclear whether he is insane or deeply depressed, I would not call this depression madness in any way because the term madness is something more
…show more content…
Shakespeare could have intended for his character, Hamlet to appear to be engulfing himself in convincing everyone that he is in fact mentally unstable rather than having to take action and decide what he should do. Although at first Hamlet feels the idea of the antic disposition is a good one, it becomes apparent that even Hamlet doubts his genuine sanity. This quote shows Hamlet commenting on his own actions, which he regrets. I think that through what he is saying he is even doubting his own sanity and almost suggesting a second personality.

"…. His madness. If't be so,

Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged,

His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy"

It seems unclear to the audience at times, if Hamlet is speaking in the act of insanity or when what he is displaying to the audience is his real self, particularly in Act 3 Scene 4 when Hamlet argues with his mother. He is wanting to show his mother a mirror which can reveal her true self so she can she how others see her. His mother does not understand this and feels it to be a threat on her life so must be in a worried state to feel threatened by her own son.

Hamlet "Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge; You go not till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you."

Queen Gertrude "What wilt thou do? thou wilt
Open Document